Luol Deng, Joakim Noah

Luol Deng says it wasn’t flu, rather spinal tap kept him out of Game 6


If Gregg Popovich were Luol Deng’s coach, he may have written on Thursday night’s lineup card “DNP — Spinal Tap.” And we all would have turned the jokes up to 11.

But Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls play things closer to the vest, so the official word as to why Deng was sent home before Game 6 Thursday was he had flu like symptoms. Nate Robinson played through the flu Thursday — he was throwing up during timeouts. With half the Bulls team playing through injuries Deng didn’t come off well in the exchange.

Deng took to twitter to clear the air Friday — he was not sent home by the team because of a mere flu, it was far more serious (the first tweet used twitter extension service TMI):

On Wed I was taken to the ER and my symptoms indicated I may have meningitis In order to play on Thurs I was required to undergo a spinal tap

Deng says he was back in the ER on Friday, which obviously will make him questionable for Game 7 Saturday, although he wants to play.

Deng has been through this before — he had a fracture in his leg and the team played coy, so fans were all over him for not playing through pain. Deng’s savvy enough to go over the team’s head and directly to the fans with this stuff now.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.

Kevin Durant with huge dunk on visiting Fenerbahce Ulker

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Welcome to America, Fenerbahce Ulker.

The Turkish powerhouse was in America playing some exhibition games this preseason, and they got a first-hand reminder that Kevin Durant is back. KD had 13 points in the Thunder’s easy 111-81 win.

Not to be outdone, Russell Westbrook got in on the act.