One more, folks. One more meaningless, dreary, drab preseason game, and its here. The regular season. 2010-2011. 82 straight games of basketball. I don't know about you, I'm ready.
The Mavericks did not show the same excitement in this game, losing rather badly. Van Gundy played his starters very deep into the game, though, including in the 3rd quarter where the Magic really pulled away. This was not a game that Carlisle cared about the outcome. Here's what he did care about.
- Well, injuries come first. Tyson Chandler cut his finger going up to contest a Dwight Howard shot. He did not come back in the game, but he should be ready to go for the season opener next week.
- Jason Terry, after having a solid preseason, was not good. 1-10 from the floor, though I appreciate the fact that he at least tried to get into the lane. Half of his shots were taken in the paint. Still, though, 1-10 is 1-10. That's not going to get it down for someone who wants to be known as our second scoring option.
- Butler didn't shoot all that great either with a 5-13 night (and 4 three point attempts...stop it, Caron!), but he was able to get to the line five times. Hopefully, he realizes that getting to the free throw line should be a big part of his offense.
- Jones had the best move of the night. Jones drove, pump faked on the baseline, got his defender in the air, spun away and drained a short jumper, nothing but net. Very sleek. He followed it up with a high arcing, fade away, one handed tear drop that softly swished through. He's looked much better late in the preseason than the first few. I remember saying early on that he wouldn't be ready, and at the time, he didn't look like he would, but he's made huge strides. He's still has his issues, but he's adjusted to the NBA's athleticism, using finishes like I detailed above instead of just plowing in there. His jumper also made an appearance in this game: besides the jumper I detailed, he hit a trey and knocked down a nice fadeaway from 13 feet. He ended with 14 on 5/11 shooting.
- I've been advocating for Ajinca to gain playing time, but it appears the favorite is Mahinmi in the coaching staff. He's been subbed in first in every game so far this preseason, if my memory serves correct. When Ajinca did come in, it was for Mahinmi at the 5 because Mahinmi had picked up 3 fouls. However, if the decision is made to use one of those two at the backup 4, I wonder if Ajinca isn't more likely to be played there, mainly due to his shooting range.
- At this point, I would be surprised if Novak and Cardinal don't both make the roster in the 14th and 15th spots. They are not the same player, even though at first, they appeared to be. Cardinal is a scrappy, veteran player, who finds ways to get easy baskets, draws charges, and plays decent defense for a white stiff. Novak, on the other hand, is not a good defender, and doesn't do a lot of the extra stuff Cardinal does, but he is really, really, really good at shooting. And he's 6'10".
- Heard this nugget in the 4th thanks to Followill: Novak was a 97% FT shooter his senior year in college at Marquette. 97%. That's just impressive.
- JJB was good. Quite good. He was penetrating well, but more importantly, dished 8 dimes in 19 minutes.
- There was a Gortat sighting today for Orlando. Oh, what could have been.