Mayo blames energy drink for banned substance test

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This is my favorite excuse since Richard Gasquet kissed a girl….

Suspended Memphis Grizzlies player O.J. Mayo blamed an energy drink he purchased at a gas store for his positive test for the banned substance dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). It was just a simple bad choice, that’s all, and he really should have gone with that Squishee Apu was trying to sell him at the Kwik-E-Mart (although good chance he’d test positive for something in those, too).

By the way: None of the top energy drink brands contain DHEA, according to CNBC’s Darren Rovell.

Mayo took responsibility for not checking the drink out with the team trainer, but said that he did not knowingly take DHEA in a supplement. Which we hope is true because studies show DHEA is really not helpful at building muscle mass or helping someone recover from a workout or any of the other things one would hope a steroid would do. If you’re going to get busted for a banned substance use one that works.

He added that he is not appealing the suspension, which was for 10 games and will keep him out until Feb. 15. It also will cost him $405,000.

I’m not a professional personal manager or PR consultant, but let me offer a word of advice to Mr. Mayo:

Don’t talk about it. Even if the rather fantastic gas station supplement story is true, you sound like one of those guys trying to dodge that you knowingly took something. Sports fans don’t buy these lines — we saw legendary baseball players bald-faced lie to congress about it. So now, telling the truth or not, people assume anyone saying they didn’t know what they were taking is lying. Not fair, but it’s the reality.

Keep quiet, stay in shape and when you get back play like a guy who had been taking very effective PEDs and all will be forgotten. Winning cures all ills.

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 Cavaliers 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. Especially against a team going small — the Cavaliers start Kevin Love at center — Embiid should be fed down low.

Instead, look at his 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.

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.