Ellis and Curry: Detente

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Monta Ellis used to be The Man for Golden State. Then came this year’s draft and now Stephen Curry is The Man for Golden State. Two guys who essentially play the same role. Both up and coming stars in the Association. Both want to take the big shot.

Big surprise these two aren’t tight. And Ellis has some reason to be frustrated, according to Matt Steinmetz:

Ellis didn’t play much as a rookie. Got into only 49 games, averaged 18 minutes. He thought he was good and should be playing more, but he couldn’t get on the floor. But here comes Curry in his first season, surely in a different circumstance, but he’s getting 40-plus minutes per game.

Not only that, Curry’s been given extraordinary freedom, something Ellis never sniffed his first year or two in the league. It certainly doesn’t help that coach Don Nelson seems to go out of his way to praise Curry but is reluctant to compliment Ellis.

For now, there is a Detente between the sides.

In part because of Don Nelson’s style of play, Ellis and Curry are just fine playing along side each other for now, both getting plenty of shots. Both had a chance at a game tying shot against the Lakers Monday night (both missed). But that doesn’t mean after the game they are heading out to Bocadillos together.

At some point, Golden State management may have to choose between them, but for now they can play along side each other. Just don’t expect them to be tight.

Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance

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NEW YORK (AP)—  The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.

Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.

NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.

Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling

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DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.

Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?