While you were grilling, we were talking NBA finals

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barbecue.jpgWe know what you were doing this weekend. Putting tri-tip and chicken/apple sausages on the grill, while trying to figure out if that snow cone making machine you bought the kids could be used to make great frozen margaritas. Yes, yes it can.

You were not, however, reading PBT. But now that you’re back at the office looking for ways to avoid actually working, we have some suggestions for you.

That’s because we did not rest over the weekend. We are relentless. We are the Terminator — the cool mimetic polyalloy/liquid metal one from T-2 — and we do not quit. Ever. And we put together a whole bunch of NBA finals pieces you should check out.

* Don’t go thinking that 2010 is like 2008. Rajon Rondo is better. The Lakers have Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum in the lineup. Pandora did not exist yet. There are a lot of key differences between then and now.

* Five keys to victory for both teams. Sorry, but one of them is not “Jack Nicholson takes out Doc Rivers.” I’d still like to see that, though.

Our interactive breakdown of the players and coaches. This is very pretty and fancy. We like pretty and fancy. Plus it forced us to take less than 5,000 words to describe everyone.

The five best NBA finals ever. Yes, of course there are a bunch of Lakers/Celtics games in there. But the Phoenix Suns still made the list, too. Just like you expected.

Lakers/Celtics: Which franchise reigns supreme? A barstool-style debate where Lakers fans think they are the best now and Celtics fans know they are.

* Lamar Odom is thinking it may not be a good thing to bring his reality-show star wife to the Garden without security. On the other hand, if she wants a dose of actual reality, that’s what she should do.

It’s not about the shoes: Kevin Durant loses his, blocks two shots anyway

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Shoes? Kevin Durant don’t need no stinkin’ shoes.

Early in the second quarter of the Warriors win in New Orleans Friday, Durant came out of his shoes on a layup in the lane. He then picked up his shoe, carried it to the other end, flipped it to the bench, and played defense without it, and while he got moved out of the way allowing an offensive rebound for the Pelicans he then proceeded to block Tony Allen twice at the rim.

Durant — after deciding to play the rest of the game in shoes — had seven blocks on the night, to go with 22 points.

Joel Embiid frustrated, wants more post touches, to play back-to-backs

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Joel Embiid remains a frustrated man.

He wants to be unleashed on the NBA, and he feels he’s being held back.

Part of that is not playing in back-to-backs — Embiid started Friday night against Boston but will sit out by plan Saturday night against the Raptors in Toronto. Embiid knows the plan to help protect a body that has played only 31 games in three seasons before this one and was not cleared for most of training camp, but that doesn’t mean he likes it, as he told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said.  “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I can’t play back-to-back.”

I get his frustration, but can you blame the Sixers for treating the guy like he’s made of glass at this point? Hopefully, later in the season, he can be cleared to play on both ends.

His second frustration came from the loss to the Celtics on Friday — he wants more post touches. In the video above he is clear, “I didn’t get the ball enough in the post.”

He’s right here. Embiid had three post-ups all game, one in each of the game’s first three quarters (stat via Synergy Sports). Embiid is efficient in the post — he has shot 9-of-12 on those plays overall this season and the Sixers score 1.33 points per possession when he does. That will work especially well against teams going small (for example, the Cavaliers with Kevin Love at the five), although Friday night Boston had big man Aron Baynes starting at center (in part because of Embiid, in part because Marcus Smart was out injured). Still, Embiid can score on Baynes.

Take a look at Embiid’s shot chart from Friday night.

Part of this is on him with all the threes, but they have to utilize him better. It’s part of the Sixers growing pains that will come this season.

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.