Thursday featured four NBA preseason games beginning the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers kicking off the day early in the morning due to the fact they were playing all the way out in Manila. Let's recap all of the action.
Houston Rockets 116, Indiana Pacers 96: James Harden scored 21 points and received big help from some unlikely sources as the Rockets beat down the Pacers in the Philippines. Omri Casspi, Donatas Motiejunas and Jeremy Lin all scored in double figures off the bench and Casspi even notched a double-double.
After a dominant debut with the Rockets, Dwight Howard wasn't nearly as prolific in his second go-round. Howard had nine points, three rebounds and five fouls in just under 24 minutes of action.
Houston burst out of the gates quick, storming to a 12-0 lead before Indiana began to right the ship. The Pacers hung around for most of the game before things got ugly in the fourth quarter. A five-point deficit quickly ballooned to double-digits, and that was that.
Paul George was mostly good for the Pacers, scoring 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting. George was careless with the ball at times, however, committing five turnovers. Indiana committed 19 total turnovers as a team.
Another key thing to note was the performance of Danny Granger, who struggled to a 2-of-10 shooting night. Granger did start the second half and he will likely join the starting lineup at some point. However, Tom Lewis at Indy Cornrows notes that Granger is still a major "work in progress" and doesn't appear to be back at full strength just yet.
Bosh's big night was certainly notable, but perhaps the bigger story was the preseason debut of Dwyane Wade. The Heat star sat out the first preseason game, but he played 21 minutes against the Pistons on his way to eight points, four rebounds and four assists.
Bosh helped the Heat get off to a strong start, scoring nine points in the first quarter. Miami extended their lead to 11 points in the fourth quarter before Detroit made things interesting in the final minutes.
Will Bynum had a big day for the Pistons with Brandon Jennings, Rodney Stuckey and Chauncey Billups out of the lineup, scoring 28 points and dishing out six assists in a whopping 46 minutes of action. Andre Drummond also had a huge game, scoring 21 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Detroit stayed close thanks to a monster 55-29 edge in rebounding.
Finally, there's this:
Never change, Beas. RT @JoeGoodmanJr: Beasley punched himself in the head so hard tonight that he needed treatment after the game.— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) October 11, 2013
Never change, indeed.
Minnesota Timberwolves 98, Milwaukee Bucks 89: Othyus Jeffers had 13 points to lead five Timberwolves in double figures in a victory over the Bucks. Shabazz Muhammad had a nice game off the bench, scoring 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting.
Gorgui Dieng, the Wolves' other first-round pick, also impressed, scoring six points, grabbing nine rebounds and blocking four shots. Nikola Pekovic added 10 points, while Kevin Love only had two points in just under 11 minutes.
Minnesota grabbed the win, but it was actually Milwaukee who started fast. The Bucks ran out to a quick 10-0 lead, although that lead evaporated by the second quarter. The game stayed relatively close the rest of the way and was tied early in the fourth quarter before the Wolves finished on top.
John Henson had 16 points on 8-of-12 shooting to lead Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo filled up the stat sheet with four points, seven rebounds and four blocks, and he's drawing some rave reviews thus far:
I promise you, no NBA player this preseason is generating more buzz than Giannis Antetokounmpo. If any player needed a nickname, it's him.— david b. thorpe (@coachthorpe) October 11, 2013
After watching 2 games, he's part Batum, part P George, with a hunters' spirit like Durant. How's 3 years until he's a max player grab you?— david b. thorpe (@coachthorpe) October 11, 2013
While some of those comparisons are a bit premature, there's a lot to like about the youngster -- though he also has made plenty of mistakes as well. It will likely take a few years for Antetokounmpo to harness his talent, but there's certainly plenty of it.
The game went back and forth throughout the first half, but it was the Lakers who held the lead at the break. The Kings took over in the second half before finally blowing it open in the final frame. Sacramento's offense was in high gear all night as they shot 53.7 percent from the field and racked up 28 assists.
Jodie Meeks had 19 points to lead the Lakers. Nick Young added 17 points, but arguably the most promising performance came from Pau Gasol. The Spaniard is working his way back into shape from a knee injury, and he scored 13 points, grabbed five boards and handed out five dimes.