O.J. Mayo suspended 10 games for drug code violation

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Memphis’ O.J. Mayo has tested positive for a banned substance and has been suspended 10 games by the NBA, the league announced Thursday.

Mayo tested positive for dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). DHEA is a hormone naturally occurring in the body, secreted by the adrenal gland, according to the Mayo Clinic (no irony intended). The body then coverts DHEA into testosterone in men (or estrogen in women). It is available over the counter as a health supplement since 1994 (although there are bills in congress to make it a controlled substance). It also has been used to treat Lupus, depression and some other ailments.

DHEA is banned by virtually every major sporting or sports drug testing organization in the world. That said, clinical studies have shown it to be not very effective as a steroid for building muscle.

“It was an honest mistake, but I take full responsibility for my actions. I apologize to my fans, teammates and the Grizzlies organization for regrettably not doing the necessary research about what supplements I can put in my body,” Mayo said in a statement released by the Grizzlies.

The 10-game suspension will cost Mayo a little more than $400,000.

While team owner Michael Heisley has denied it, there are reports that the Grizzlies have checked out the trade value of Mayo. Which you can safely bet just went down a lot.

Richard Lewis, now of the Washington Wizards, tested positive for DHEA back in 2009.

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?