Dwight Howard looked like a guy getting healthy Friday night, like a guy finding his footing with a new team in a brand new offense — 28 points and 20 rebounds. He started to look like the best center in the game.
And now on Sunday night he gets to take another step against a team really struggling at the center spot — because he left them.
Sunday night Howard faces the Magic for the first time since he left them. He’s doing it in Los Angeles, but he still said it would be a little weird. From the Orlando Sentinel:
“Well, you know, it’s going to be a little weird playing against my former team,” Howard answered. “But we need a good win and [to] come out with a lot of energy. So I’m going to put all my effort into getting ready for the next game and playing with a lot of intensity and just having fun.”
Weird is not the word Magic fans would use. We can’t use the word Magic fans would use.
And it’s weird but of his own making — he pushed his way out in the most awkward way possible.
Orlando has struggled at the five, allowing opposing fives to shoot 55 percent according to 82games.com. They also put it this way — Orlando has gotten a PER of 11.5 on the season (that’s Meyers Leonard, Brendan Haywood kind of play) while giving up a PER of 18.6 (that’s Al Horford, DeMarcus Cousins kind of production).
But if Howard thinks Sunday is weird, wait for March 12 when the Lakers travel to Orlando.
The Adelaide 36ers may be from Australia’s National Basketball League, but they are professional players — leave them wide open and they will hit shots.
Phoenix treated Sunday like their first preseason game (it was) and the 36ers hit 24 3-pointers on their way to an upset of the Suns, 134-124. The 36ers were the aggressors all night long, playing team basketball and putting Phoenix on its heels.
It’s just preseason. One preseason game is not a bellwether for the season, there should be little more than raised eyebrows in Phoenix. However, with their last game being a crushing 33-point loss to Dallas which eliminated them from the playoffs a season ago, this was not the palate cleanser that Phoenix fans were hoping for.
Craig Randall — you may remember him from the University of Memphis and Tennessee-Martin — scored 35 points while Robert Franks added 32. The 3-point shot is the great equalizer in basketball and the 36ers were on fire.
The last NBA team to lose to an International squad before Sunday was the Thunder in 2016 to Real Madrid. The year before, Turkish power Fenerbahce beat Brooklyn in the preseason. It does happen.
Reserve point guard Cameron Payne led the Suns with 23 points, while Deandre Ayton looked solid and dropped 22, as did Mikal Bridges, who also had 22. Devin Booker had 13 points and Chris Paul dished out 12 dimes.
With the size of Ayton and the athletic slashing of Bridges, the Suns scored 64 points in the paint, more than doubling the 36ers. But math was not on the Suns’ side, as they traded twos for threes and kept falling behind.
This is great for the NBL and its efforts to grow the brand — the 36ers will now take on the Thunder later this week.
It’s a shrug and move on game for the Suns. Expect a more focused effort from the team next game.
Tyler Herro was frustrated — he saw players he felt he was better than getting paid.
Now he has a contract he will have to live up to.
The Heat have signed Herro to a four-year, $120 million extension of his rookie contract, with up to $10 million in incentives) a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and now confirmed by the team.
Herro went to Twitter to confirm the deal himself.
It’s just one meanless preseason game, but for a franchise that could use some good news the Boston Celtics will take it.
The Celtics’ shooting looked in mid-season form in their preseason opener against the Hornets on Sunday — 57.1% overall and 22-of-47 from 3 (46.8%). Boston just couldn’t seem to miss, especially early.
Jayson Tatum had 16 points in 22 minutes, while Jaylen Brown was the leading scorer with 24 points in 24 minutes.
The one unexpected bright spot was a strong game from Mfiondu Kabengele, who is currently on a two-way contract with the team. He ended up with 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting and showed some hustle.
Kelly Oubre led the Hornets with 17 points, while LaMelo Ball had 14 points, seven rebounds and four dimes.
It’s just one preseason game, don’t read much of anything into it. But the Celtics will take the good news where they can find it.
The Brooklyn Nets bet that the T.J. Warren from the bubble in Orlando — the one who averaged 26.6 points and 6.3 rebounds a game for the Pacers — would re-emerge and give them a quality forward they could mix into a deep rotation.
Instead, so far it has looked more like the Warren who has played just four games since the bubble due to stress fractures in his foot.
Warren is improving and the Nets are bringing him along slowly, keeping him off the court until November at least, reports Brian Lewis of the New York Post.
Small forward T.J. Warren, who has missed nearly two full seasons following multiple foot surgeries, is “doing some shooting” and “a little bit more movement the last two weeks than he was prior,” Nash said. He added that Warren will be reassessed in about a month.
The Nets can afford to be patient. They have plenty of other questions to answer as a team before worrying about what Warren can or cannot contribute. But in the dream scenario where everything comes together for the Nets this season, Warren gets healthy and becomes a valuable contributor off the bench giving the Nets more versatility, scoring, and shooting along the front line.
For now, the Nets and Warren wait.