Kendrick Perkins out 2-3 weeks with MCL sprain

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Kendrick Perkins is going to join the Thunder and make the team a significantly tougher opponent defensively… eventually. Until then, well, not so much. OKBlitz.com reports today that Perkins will miss 2-3 weeks with a MCL sprain in his knee.

Which is exactly what you want to hear about the guy you just traded two starters for who returned from an ACL injury just weeks ago. Perkins suffered the sprain against the Warriors Tuesday before being traded Thursday, left the court gingerly, then missed the rest of the game. But he obviously cleared the trade physicals, so the Thunder staff likely isn’t worried, it’s just not what you want to hear from the new starter, especially when you play the Lakers on Sunday.

The other question is where Nate Robinson will fit in on this team. Eric Maynor is still the backup point guard, presumably, though Robinson definitely fits in with the culture of the team in OKC with the laughing and joking. Robinson might work in spots as a two-guard even with his size, should the Thunder go into super-small ball.

For Perkins, it’ll leave him just a little under a month to get used to his new teammates before the playoffs start. But then, he usually comes back from injury sooner rather than later. We’ll see if his intensity is the same in Oklahoma City as it was in Boston.

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?