Kevin Durant looks healthy in preseason

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on Thunder star forward Kevin Durant, who is coming off major injury and fortunately looks like himself again so far:

Kevin Durant looks healthy in preseason

The first dunk was uncontested, the kind he’s done in practice gyms for weeks. During the third quarter of his first game inside an OKC arena in more than seven months, Kevin Durant jumped a passing lane, sped by a retreating defender and dropped in a dunk with the type of ease that comes when you’re 6-foot-11 with an even longer wingspan.

But the second jam was much more powerful and encouraging.

Two possessions later, Durant shook a defender with a lefty in and out dribble, darted into the paint and, after spotting the rotating big, gathered with both feet, rose and hammered one through, landing, posing and pausing to enjoy the crowd’s roar.

It served as the final two of his 13 points during the Thunder’s 111-81 rout of Fenerbahce Ulker on Friday night and the greatest sign that the star forward is rounding into athletic form this preseason.

Utah Jazz holding open practice October 16

The Utah Jazz will hold a free open practice on Friday, Oct. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at EnergySolutions Arena. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and no ticket is needed for admission.

The event will give Jazz fans an inside look at a Jazz practice and will feature returnees Trevor Booker, Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood and Joe Ingles, 2015 first round draft pick Trey Lyles, as well as rookies Raul Neto and Tibor Pleiss.

Head Coach Quin Snyder will lead the practice and wear a microphone to describe the drills and real-game scenarios that they will showcase. Jazz radio broadcaster David Locke will also be on hand to interview players throughout the evening.

Select concession stands will be open during the event, including new food options, such as Chick-fil-A and CupBop Korean BBQ. Food and non-alcoholic beverages will be discounted 10 percent.

Melo looking good in preseason

Health is the most important thing for all of us. You. Me. And professional basketball players, too. Here’s ESPN New York reporting on the Knicks and star forward Carmelo Anthony:

Melo looking good in preseason

After undergoing knee surgery in late February, Carmelo Anthony didn’t shoot a basketball for nearly five months.

He seems to be making up for lost time over the past few days.

Anthony has made 18 of his first 25 shots of the preseason, including 10 of 15 on Friday night against the Washington Wizards.

What’s behind the hot start?

“The most important thing is being healthy,” Anthony said late Friday night. “When you’re healthy, everything kind of falls into place mentally. There’s a lot of clarity for me at this moment where I can just play ball and not worry about [a] tick-tack injury or having surgery or things like that — and I can just help my team.”

Rebounding is a concern for Pistons

Here’s the Detroit Free Press reporting on the Pistons, who may need some help grabbing the basketball after it flies off the rim:

Rebounding is a major concern with the Detroit Pistons.

Namely, who is going to help Andre Drummond corral missed shots?

Ersan Ilyasova showed Thursday night he might answer the call.

He was one of the few Pistons to play well in a 93-83 exhibition loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

He scored 15 points and did his part on the glass with seven rebounds — four on offense.

Rudy Gay off to hot preseason start

When a player is on fire like Rudy Gay is lately, there’s reason for optimism, even if it is just the warm-up period that is NBA preseason. Here’s the Sacramento Bee reporting:

Rudy Gay off to hot preseason start

Rudy Gay looks comfortable in George Karl’s system.

For the second consecutive preseason game, Gay shot 10 of 13, this time tallying 26 points as the Kings defeated the San Antonio Spurs 95-92 Thursday night at Sleep Train Arena.

Gay has hit 8 of 10 three-point attempts in the past two games. He made 2 of 3 beyond the arc on Thursday.

“He wasn’t shooting the ball very well for most of training camp,” said Karl, the Kings’ coach. “He didn’t play very well in Portland (on Monday). I think it was just pride that he said he wanted to come out and start playing better.”

Minor injury scare for Damian Lillard

Here’s the Oregonian reporting on Damian Lillard, the heart and sole of the Portland Trail Blazers. Lillard has managed to play all 82 games in each of his three regular seasons, and to keep things that way may want to cut down on his preseason minutes:

Minor injury scare for Damian Lillard

It was the one sight no Trail Blazers fan wanted to see Thursday: Damian Lillard limping off the court.

But there was the Blazers’ star at the end of the third quarter, hobbling off the court with a wince because of a re-aggravated left ankle sprain.

Although Lillard called the injury “minor” it was enough of a scare to cause him to reverse his thinking about his play moving forward this preseason.

“I need to stay off the floor,” Lillard conceded after Thursday’s 118-101 exhibition victory over Golden State.

The Trail Blazers beat the Warriors 118-101 yesterday. It’s just preseason, but for a rebuilding squad like Portland any sign of positivity is welcome. Here’s the Oregonian reporting:

Allen Crabbe steps up in Blazers preseason win

Allen Crabbe played his best game with the Blazers, Damian Lillard powered through a tough shooting night and the Blazers saw a wide range of contributions from virtually everyone who played. Eleven players scored and nine recorded an assist as the Blazers leaned on their entire roster.

But none was better than Crabbe, who finished with 25 points and four assists on 9-for-12 shooting, including 5-of-6 from three-point range. He swished threes, buried pull-up jumpers in transition and nailed midrange shots from all over the court. Crabbe was such a factor, he recorded a ridiculous plus-minus of plus-42. It was the first time he’s scored 20 or more points in any pre-or-regular season game with the Blazers.

As he scored from everywhere, his teammates followed suit. Lillard recorded 22 points, six rebounds and three assists, shaking off a 3-for-18 shooting night by making 15 free throws. CJ McCollum had 19 points and five assists, Al-Farouq Aminu had 11 points and eight rebounds and Pat Connaughton added 10 points. Every Blazer played less than 29 minutes as Stotts opted to limited minutes.

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting on a key young Knick who will hopefully emerge as a serious building block for the future:

Jerian Grant makes preseason debut for Knicks

The Knicks other rookie acquitted himself well in his first preseason action Wednesday, but a much bigger test awaits Jerian Grant Friday night in Washington.

Grant, the 19th overall pick out of Notre Dame, was a composed floor general during his 28 minutes in Wednesday’s victory over the Brazilian team Bauru at the Garden, collecting four assists and eight points while facilitating the game-breaking runs next to Langston Galloway. (There was a very impressive behind-the-back-dribble-to-an-assist play from Grant late in the first quarter).

Coach Derek Fisher was certainly pleased.

“Jerian has a good feel for the game,” the coach said.

Here’s CSN Philly reporting on a fun preseason game result for the 76ers:

Scottie Wilbekin only stepped on the court for the final two minutes and he only took one shot, but it was a pretty big one.

The rookie point guard, in a battle to make the Sixers’ roster, hit the game-winning three-pointer with 1.3 seconds left to beat the barebones Cleveland Cavaliers, 115-114, on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Playing the two-minute warrior while Isaiah Canaan and T.J. McConnell handled the majority of the point guard duty, Wilbekin’s big shot came a game removed from notching a minus-30 in 24 minutes of a 34-point loss in Washington…

Of course it helps when the Cavaliers didn’t have LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, J.R. Smith or Iman Shumpert in the second game of a back-to-back, but that’s a different story.

Omer Asik out 3 weeks with calf injury

Omer Asik calf injury

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that center Omer Asik is expected to miss the next three weeks with a right calf strain. The injury occurred during yesterday’s practice.

Asik, 7-0, 255, appeared in 76 games for the Pelicans in 2014-15, averaging 7.3 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. Drafted 36th overall by Portland in the 2008 NBA Draft, Asik has appeared in 354 career regular season games with Chicago, Houston and New Orleans, holding averages of 5.9 points and 7.7 rebounds. A native of Bursa, Turkey, Asik was originally acquired by New Orleans in a trade with the Houston Rockets on July 24, 2014. Asik re-signed to a multi-year contract with the Pelicans on July 9, 2015.

Raptors holding open practice October 21

The Toronto Raptors will continue their preseason preparations with an open practice on Wednesday, October 21 at Hershey Centre in Mississauga. At this free event, Raptors fans will have an opportunity to preview the team during an intra-squad game, win one of many exciting giveaways and interact with Raptors alumni.

The open practice will also include team introductions plus performances by the Raptors Dance Pak and the Raptors mascot. Every fan in attendance will receive a free Raptors t-shirt. Doors open at 5 p.m. with the event starting at 6 p.m.

Hershey Centre will be home to Raptors 905, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Toronto Raptors, for the team’s inaugural season. The club will play 22 regular season games in Mississauga with the home opener set for Thursday, November 19 versus the Maine Red Claws.

For more information about open practice tickets please visit

Here’s the Dallas Morning News reporting on super-athletic forward Jeremy Evans, who so far in his NBA career is known for great dunking but not on the national radar as a complete basketball player just yet:

Jeremy Evans trying to make a name for himself with Mavs

Through two exhibitions in which the coaching staff was focused on evaluation of role players and those hoping to make the final roster, Evans was a standout.

He was an under-the-radar signee in free agency this summer. The Mavericks love the idea of him being able to play either forward position and also help out at center in certain small-ball lineups against opposing athletic centers.

“He’s a hard worker and all that, but he has the skill set, the athletic ability, he’s shooting the ball now to 3-point range and I’m confident he can guard all those positions,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s a guy we’re going to need to play multiple spots. We want activity, rebounding, shot-blocking, open shot-making and as you can see, you can throw the ball up and he’ll go get it and dunk it.”

That much was obvious on the rim-shaking dunks in the back-to-back exhibitions.

Jason Kidd has Ronnie Lott speak to Bucks

Here’s the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporting on the Bucks, whose head coach Jason Kidd had a legend from another sport come in and talk to his squad:

nJason Kidd has Ronnie Lott speak to Bucks

Kidd brought in former San Francisco 49ers defensive back Ronnie Lott to talk to the team Wednesday.

Lott was one of the most feared tacklers in NFL history and famously had his broken pinkie amputated in 1986 to avoid a long recovery process that would have been required with reconstructive surgery.

“He talked about it,” Kidd said. “He’s very modest in saying it’s not that big of a story.

“He didn’t wear shoulder pads in public, but you saw him do his job on the field. Watching him as a kid — he played for the 49ers and (Los Angeles) Raiders — and no matter what team he was on he was always known as a hitter and a champion.”

Kidd said Lott talked to the Bucks players about working as teammates and the privilege of being pro athletes.

Lott won four Super Bowl titles in 10 years with the 49ers and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.

Lott also is a friend of one of the Bucks’ primary owners, Wes Edens.

Rudy Gay scores 30 in preseason loss

Here’s the Sacramento Bee reporting on the Kings, who like the league’s other 29 teams are just getting their feet wet in preseason:

Darren Collison missed a three-pointer that would have given the Kings the lead with 3.8 seconds to play, and Sacramento fell to 1-1 in the preseason with a 102-98 loss to the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

The Kings committed 21 turnovers. Kings coach George Karl said many of them were unforced errors.

“I think we’ve had 40 turnovers in two nights and bet 60 percent, 70 percent are unforced,” Karl said. “Some of that’s not knowing each other; some of that’s trying to do a little bit too much in a crowd, putting yourself in difficult decision-making places. I think we’ll get better at it.”

Rudy Gay scores 30 in preseason loss

Rudy Gay led the Kings with 30 points. He made 10 of 13 shots, including 7 of 8 on three-pointers. DeMarcus Cousins added 15 points on 3-for-12 shooting and eight rebounds. T.J. Warren and Jon Leuer led Phoenix (1-0) with 17 points apiece.

Knicks MSG sellout streak ends

Here’s the New York Post reporting that Knicks tickets, at least for one preseason game, were available at face value from the box office for a change:

The 201-game Garden sellout streak dating to 2010 is over. The club announced a crowd of 19,037 — below the sellout number of 19,812 — for Tuesday’s preseason opener against Brazilian team Bauru.

The sellout streak had included preseason, regular-season and playoff games. The Knicks still will promote their regular-season/playoff streak that stands at 97.

The Knicks had an 87 percent season-ticket renewal rate, which was down considerably from last season. But one of the biggest upsets was the Knicks sold out all their regular-season games during their worst season in franchise history at 17-65.

Future of Timberwolves on display

Here’s the St. Paul Pioneer Press reporting on the young and fun Minnesota Timberwolves:

The future of the Timberwolves was on display in Wednesday’s exhibition opener, with the debut of No. 1 overall draft pick Karl-Anthony Towns and fellow rookie Tyus Jones joining a starting lineup that included talented second-year players Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins.

There were glimpses of potential, but the Wolves showed they still have a long way to go.

After all, Minnesota was playing an offensive juggernaut in the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka combined for 47 points in the Thunder’s 122-99 victory in front of 8,601 at Target Center.

“We found things we need to work on,” said Towns, who had an impressive debut with 18 points, five rebounds and two blocks. “It was kind of bittersweet. I wanted to do a lot more on both sides of the basketball. I’m just getting my feet wet.”

Pistons waive Eric Griffin

Pistons waive Eric Griffin

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the club has requested waivers on forward Eric Griffin.

He was signed to the training camp roster on September 28 and played for the Texas Legends of the NBA’s Developmental League last season. In 49 games, he averaged 19.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.4 blocks in 35.2 minutes. The Orlando native played collegiately at Campbell University and went undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft.


The Milwaukee Bucks have requested waivers on forward Jon Horford and guard Charlie Westbrook, General Manager John Hammond announced today.

Horford saw six minutes of action in last night’s preseason game at Chicago, while Westbrook posted four points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal in nine minutes. Both were signed by the Bucks as free agents on Sept. 18.

The Bucks roster now stands at 18 players.

Grizzlies sign Alex Stepheson

The Memphis Grizzlies today announced the team has signed free agent forward/center Alex Stepheson. The contract is likely non-guaranteed and just for preseason.

Stepheson (6-10, 270) has played professionally in Greece, Slovenia and Turkey since finishing his collegiate career at the University of Southern California. The 28-year-old averaged 12.3 points and a league-leading 9.2 rebounds in 26.8 minutes while shooting 56.3 percent from the field, in 29 games (21 starts) last season for Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyesi.

Unselected in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles native also made three appearances for the Dallas Mavericks during the 2015 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

The Grizzlies’ roster stands at 20 players.

Grizzlies waive Michael Holyfield

The Memphis Grizzlies today announced the team has waived center Michael Holyfield.

Holyfield (6-11, 270) signed with Memphis as a free agent on Sept. 28 and played eight minutes in the Grizzlies’ preseason opener last night against the Houston Rockets. Unselected in the 2015 NBA Draft following a four-year collegiate career at Sam Houston State University, the 22-year-old Albuquerque, N.M. native appeared in five games for Memphis during the 2015 Orlando Pro Summer League.

The Grizzlies’ roster stands at 19 players.

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