The 2011 NBA preseason had a good run filled with highlights from Lob City, Greg Stiemsma game-winners and a host of other delightful contests during the truncated exhibition schedule. It all comes to an end on Thursday night, however, with a double-header that failed to make the national television lineup.
The Charlotte Bobcats will play the Atlanta Hawks at 7 p.m. ET in a game that will only be televised locally on SSO Charlotte, making it a bit difficult to catch the game for those not based in North Carolina. The biggest thing to watch for in the early game, and therefore penultimate game of the preseason schedule, will be Bobcats rookie big man Bismack Biyombo making his NBA debut.
Biyombo was recently able to settle a contract dispute with his team in Spain and has went through a pair of practices with the Bobcats, meaning he may not be all that up to date with what the Bobcats plan to run. Considering it's only the preseason and most coaches won't be running complex sets, however, the Congolese big man will probably focus on getting into basketball shape while hopefully finishing some nifty alley-oops from fellow rookie Kemba Walker to keep the fans entertained.
The Hawks will counter by likely working to finalize their rotation while getting a better look at the end of their bench. Atlanta still has training camp invites Donald Sloan, Ivan Johnson and Brad Wanamaker on the roster while Pape Sy and Magnum Rolle attempt to get their contracts guaranteed before teams submit their opening day rosters on Christmas Eve.
The final game of the preseason will take place in sunny Arizona as the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns are scheduled to tip-off at the US Airways Center at 9 p.m. It doesn't appear the game is going to be televised, according to the team websites, but that doesn't mean it's not worth trying to watch.
Actually, that might not be true. The Suns will likely tweak small things while working out their rotation while the Nuggets integrate Arron Afflalo back into the offense after re-signing the restricted free agent earlier in the week. That doesn't exactly guarantee exciting basketball, however, and the outcome isn't important considering the games won't end up making a dent in the win-loss column until next week.
And that does it. That's the end of preseason basketball. Next time anyone reads a preview about that night's slate of professional basketball games being played, the final scores will count and Michael Ruffin will be back at home on his couch instead of the 18th man on the Nuggets preseason roster.