You never quite know what you are going to find when you are surfing around the Internet early on a Sunday morning, but you always stumble upon something somewhat stunning.
In this case, it was actual numerals in the box score next to the name Eddy Curry.
E’Nourmous Tubolard actually took his warmups off in the San Antonio Spurs’ preseason opener, logging nine minutes and shooting 3-for-5 for seven points with two rebounds as Gregg Popovich’s team wiped out Italian squad Montepaschi Siena, 106-77. Curry is trying to make the 15th and final roster spot for the Spurs, who had 18 different guys on the court at one point or another (Tiago Splitter was a DNP-CD with a sore back).
From Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News: Sixth-year veteran Josh Powell was the first non-guaranteed big off the bench and he took full advantage, putting up seven points and seven rebounds in 17 minutes. Powell deflected any and all questions about possibly having taken the ridiculously early lead for the 15th and final roster spot. But even with six more preseason games left, he didn’t do anything to hurt his chances. Especially with Eddy Curry (seven points, two rebounds) and Derrick Brown (four points, one rebound) doing little to distinguish themselves. … If DeJuan Blair is harboring any lingering grudges for his continued presence on the team, he did a fine job hiding it Friday night. While the stats were nice — 10 points, five rebounds, three steals in 15 minutes — what really stood out was his wall-to-wall effort on both ends of the court — ran the court hard, hedged out on screens, vocal on defense. Much easier to bust your butt when you’re in good shape, isn’t it?
Curry spent last season riding the end of the bench for the Miami Heat, which means he will be receiving a championship ring at some point this season. The No. 4 overall pick in the 2001 draft, he has career averages of 13.0 points and 5.2 rebounds, with an All-Star-like 19.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in 81 games with the Knicks in 2006-07. But in the past three seasons has played in only 24 games, scoring just 61 points.
“I worked hard this summer,” Curry told Mike Monroe of the Express-News last week. “I dropped 15, 20 pounds. I was in pretty good shape when the season ended. I just had to maintain, trim up a little bit more.” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich noticed. “I didn’t know much about Eddy Curry and he did come into camp lighter than I thought he would,” Popovich said.
Some other notable items from yesterday’s exhibition games, which were played in such far-flung outlets as Berlin, Memphis and Las Vegas.
- In Vegas, Ty Lawson’s driving layup just before the buzzer lifted the Denver Nuggets to a 106-104 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers at the Mandalay Bay hotel and resort. Eric Bledsoe led the Clippers with 25 points, including a reverse layup with 3.1 seconds left that tied it. Blake Griffin, who had surgery on his left knee in the offseason, had six points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes. Chris Paul did not play for Los Angeles. He is expected to be cleared for full contact practices within two weeks. Afterward, he shared bachelorette party advice with our own Jackie Taylor. That is going to be some kind of A-list party. This was the first NBA game on Sin City’s famed Strip since 1981, when the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Lakers, 115-110, at the Aladdin Theatre. More from Baxter Holmes of the L.A. Times: “DeAndre Jordan showcased his improved post game — a part of his game that critics said he never possessed in the first place. An off-season of retooling seemed fruitful. In fact, Jordan, who finished with 14 points on seven-of-10 shooting, scored the Clippers’ first basket with a two-handed dunk that was earned with a calculated drop step, followed by the patience to pump-fake a defender out of position. Jordan had three thunderous dunks in the first quarter alone, each a result of coordinated footwork and post moves absent a season ago.
- In Berlin, the Mavericks brought Elton Brand, Vince Carter and Delonte West off the bench (this column by Jan Hubbard on Dallas’ grand experiment is a great read) in an 89-84 victory over Alba Berlin. The best tale out of this formerly divided city came from Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning-News: “Friday evening was the first chance that the traveling party to Germany had a little free time. So naturally, exploring the local scene was mandatory. In other words, a little biergarten hopping was in order. Which brings us to the point that in Germany, there are only two sizes of beer — huge and gigantic. We went with gigantic, much to the dismay of an aching head Saturday morning. But along the way Friday night, several people on the trip, including a couple of assistant coaches, set up shop at an indoor-outdoor beeratorium called the Lindenbrau. It was fairly crowded, so we shared a table with a young couple, who we quickly found out weren’t your typical German duo. Fabian was German through and through, a native of Cologne. Kate was from Warren, Pa. They were celebrating just over a year of wedded bliss. So how does a girl from Western Pennsylvania end up in Cologne with a German husband? “I was working at a bank in Pittsburgh, and he kept coming in,’’ said Kate Nemcovsky Lampe. “Fabian was an exchange student doing his masters work at the University of Pittsburgh.’’ Fabian had a way of finding his favorite employee every time he came in. Finally, they started dating. “And the rest is history,’’ she said. By the end of the night, a bunch of Americans and one German dude had shared stories about basketball and life, and all the basketball junkies were glad to have somebody there to translate the menu. It was another reminder of how small the world is getting — and how big the beers are in Germany.”
- In Memphis, the Grizzlies defeated a Real Madrid team that includes five current, former or future members of the Spanish National Team — Rudy Fernandez, Felipe Reyes, Sergio Rodriguez, Sergio Llull and Nikola Mirotic — by a comfortable 12-point margin, 105-93. Another member of the Spanish NT, Marc Gasol, grabbed all 16 of his rebounds on the defensive end to go along with 16 points and six assists for Memphis, which got 27 points from Rudy Gay. Every member of the Grizzlies starting lineup played at least 28 minutes, and Gay logged a game-high 37. From Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal: “Real Madrid coach Pablo Laso acknowledged that he took solace in what the Grizzlies were forced to do with six minutes left Saturday night during their international friendly. After watching a 16-point lead dwindle to five, the Grizzlies’ starters reconvened on the court in FedExForum and polished off a 105-93 victory in the first of eight preseason games scheduled this month. Laso seemed perfectly happy with moral victory, allowing both coaches to leave the building extremely pleased. Griz coach Lionel Hollins is adamant that chemistry must be built every season. And the continuity between the starting group was on display down the stretch. “It was a good start,” Hollins said. “It’s a good baseline to draw on and it was a tough test, as I thought it would be. I’m glad it’s over and we can get back to playing the teams in the NBA and the way they play.”
Other items of note:
- From Al Iannazzone of Newsday: Marcus Camby didn’t make it through the first week of Knicks training camp. The backup center suffered a strained left calf and will miss seven to 10 days. An MRI revealed the injury, which the Knicks don’t believe is significant. But Camby is 38 and has a history of missing games, and the Knicks are coming off a season in which they were beset by injuries. “Injuries creep in,” coach Mike Woodson said Saturday. “It’s not a career-threatening injury. He’ll be back.”
- From Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News: Long-time ref Tommy Nunez, Jr., whose dad also worked NBA games for years, has been given the boot and won’t be back this season. Meanwhile, former ref Sean Corbin, who was fired at one point and worked college games last season, has returned to the big time.
- Marko Jaric, who was once traded along with a future No. 1 pick from the Clippers to the Timberwolves (that was the pick that David Stern wanted the Hornets to get their hands on in the Chris Paul trade), is trying to make the Chicago Bulls. From K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: “”My wife is now in her own training camp because she needs to get ready for a Victoria’s Secret shoot,” Jaric said after Saturday’s practice. That would be Brazilian model Adriana Lima, who gave birth to the couple’s second daughter last month. What’s it like to be married to one of the most recognizable faces in fashion? “We are a very down-to-earth, normal family,” Jaric said. “None of us try to draw attention to our family. We don’t try to live the celebrity life. We really don’t care. We’re a very ordinary family.”
- Photos of Dwyane Wade’s new Li Ning kicks have been leaked. Joseph Goodman links to the photo in today’s Miami Herald. We’ll save you the click: