Some observations from The open-to-the-public practice at the Oracle:
• Monta Ellis was on hand, this time on crutches and not the mini-bike. He was wearing all black – t-shirt sweats and hat. What stood out about his attire was that he was wearing a pair of black K-Swiss classics – and not a boot. Oh yeah, also of note was his black Yankees hat. It was all fur. His teammates were jokingly calling him “chinchilla.”
• Corey Maggette came in late, not dressed for practice. He sat on the bench between Ellis and Brandan Wright, who was dressed but doesn’t appear to be participating in practice. C.J. Watson participated despite his injured right elbow
• The teams: Blue – Jax, Biedrins, DeMarcus, Buike, Harrington, Wright and Hendrix; White – Randolph, Marco, Ronni, Marcus Williams, Morrow, CJ and Kurz
• Anthony Randolph leaked out on a break after a Marcus Williams steal. Everybody knew he was going to dunk. Everybody except Al, obviously, because he jumped. And Randolph tomahawked right over him.
“He didn’t dunk on me,” Harrington said. “I didn’t jump to block it. That was fake hustle.”
• Buike looks like he’s on another level. His athleticism stands out. He caught an alley-oop from Jax, he was practically soaring. He is physically just superior. But now it looks like he has confidence.
• I know Nellie doesn’t want Marcus Williams to dominant on offense (but to defend and rebound and run the offense), but the dude can produce points. In the third quarter, he was 5-for-9 with 16 points, 3 assists and no turnovers. He knows joe to draw fouls. He knows how to get his own shot. He knows how to find people. He does get too aggressive sometimes, and dribbles a lot. But he can make offense happen. Now, if he can just grasp the playbook and play some defense.
• Scary Moment: Jack was dribbling around a pick when Marcus Williams poked him in the eye. He squirmed on the ground for a minute before getting up. He continued to play.
• You gotta love Anthony Randolph’s swagger. He dunked on Al earlier. Then, with Randolph steam-rolling down the middle, Al took a charge (ruled a block) creating a big collision. Randolphed slammed the ball in frustration and walked away. Later, Randolph had a clear path on the baseline, and Al jumped in the way again. This time, Randolph – a rookie – went up knees first. Al retreated and Randolph scored.
“Yeah, I got out the way,” Al confessed. “He would’ve knocked the wind out of me that time.”
Randolph: “Just trying to let him know I’m there a little bit. It’s all fun and games, though.”
Later in the fourth, Randolph was open on the left wing in transition. Belinelli got in the way and Randolph stepped on the back of his heel and fell, unable to finish Williams’ pass. From the ground, he shot Marco a “What in the world are you doing?” look that you just don’t see from rookies.
• Jackson did give Randolph the business. Isolated one-on-one, Jackson blew past Randolph and dunked on him with two hands. Adding insult to injury, he hung on the rim then took a chest bump from Al Harrington as the crowd cheered
“It’s coming,” Randolph said. “Y’all won’t see it because it’ll be in practice, but it’s coming.”
How come you didn’t go right back at him?
“He’s a veteran,” he said with a smile. “I can’t embarrass him.”
• Blue 91, White 73
• Of course, the rookies had to embarrass themselves. Kurz, Morrow, Hendrix, Randolph and Nelson had to dance at halfcourt to My Duggie. Kurz won that showdown.
Then they sang Happy Birthday to Ellis, an awful rendition of Stevie Wonder’s version.
“It was a 12,” Randolph said when asked to rate the quintet’s performance on a scale of 1 to 10. “We only had one day to prepare.”