The NBA preseason moves on, bringing us closer and closer to the real thing. In a five-game night of exhibition basketball, the Washington Wizards beat the NBA champions, the Miami Heat walked all over the Orlando Magic and the Oklahoma City Thunder showed that while Russell Westbrook is playing, they’re doing just fine.
Washington Wizards 96 Cleveland Cavaliers 91: The return of J.R. Smith didn’t seem to give the Cavaliers some sort of boost, as they didn’t look good in their lineup minutes. LeBron James led the team with 18 points and an impressive 4 steals, while Kyrie Irving had 0 points on 0-for-3 from the field. Tristan Thompson wasn’t bad at all with a 14-10 double double. The Wizards were led by Andrew Nicholson, scoring 19 points off the bench. John Wall finished with 17, Bradley Beal added 13, and Marcus Thornton scored 16 off the bench.
Orlando Magic 77 Miami Heat 107: As one sided as you’ll see in the preseason, with Hassan Whiteside sitting the game out. The Magic shot 2-of-19 from beyond the arc, which tells a bit part of the story. The Heat played with a small lineup that included Wayne Ellington as a small forward. Goran Dragic led them with 17 points, Dion Waiters and Tyler Johnson, who has a shot at being a sixth man of the year IMO, each added 15 points. Serge Ibaka, with 15 points and 9 rebounds, was the best player on the Magic.
New Orleans Pelicans 89 Atlanta Hawks 96: A comfortable, smooth win for the Hawks, leading from the first moment of the game. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 16 points off the bench to lead the team, while Dwight Howard had a double double on a terrible shooting night (30% from the field, 40% from the line). The backcourt of Dennis Schroder and Kyle Korver helped out with 13 points each. The Pelicans didn’t play Anthony Davis, and had Terrence Jones score 18 points off the bench, while Solomon Hill and Buddy Hield scored 13 points each.
Denver Nuggets 87 Oklahoma City Thunder 97: The Thunder dominated the game while Russell Westbrook was playing, as he finished with 12 points and 9 assists, helping Steven Adams continue to flaunt his improved offensive ability, starting the game making his first five field goal attempts and scoring 17 overall. For Denver, Danilo Gallinari led the way with 18 points, helped out by 11 points from Nikola Jokic, as the Nuggets continue to try putting him and Nurkic on the floor together.
Los Angeles Clippers 92 Sacramento Kings 89: The Clippers played fast & fun basketball, led by 18 points from J.J. Redick, as both he and Wesley Johnson hit 3 three pointers. Chris Paul finished with 8 assists and Blake Griffin looked good in the air, scoring 12 points. DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 23 points, with Ty Lawson showing up to play despite the controversy over his missed flight. The Kings shot just 5-of-22 from beyond the arc.