Update: Dirk Nowitzki will throw out first pitch for Game 3

7 Comments

UPDATE 10:01 pm: Bud Selig has seen the mistake, stepped in and has saved the day. Hey, it happens, a broken clock is right twice a day.

After seeing the public backlash and realizing they looked like fools, Selig and Major League Baseball stepped in and said “what do you mean we said Dirk Nowitzki couldn’t throw out the first pitch, of course he can.” ESPNDallas.com has the full report.

Earlier Wednesday the MLB had shot the idea down (read below, but basically it was a solidarity move with their fellow owners), but a little sunshine on that decision and the MLB backtracked from it. Of course, they did it with the “Selig didn’t know or he would have approved it the first time” language. But at least they did the right thing.

So check out the big German throwing out the first pitch Saturday night.

3:45 pm: Bad karma, Major League Baseball. Bad karma.

The Texas Rangers open the World Series Wednesday night against the Cardinals in St. Louis. When the Rangers return home, they wanted newly minted NBA champion Dirk Nowitzki to throw out the first pitch. Maybe a little good karma rubs off on them. Smart move.

But Major League Baseball tossed Nowitzki from the game before he ever got to the mound. Marc Stein at ESPN explains.

Sources told ESPNDallas.com that — with the NBA in the midst of a lockout that has spanned 111 days — at least some hesitation stems from the idea that MLB executives want to stand behind their basketball counterparts and have notified the Rangers that they can’t bestow first-pitch honors on an NBA player.

Major League Baseball insists that the NBA’s labor unrest had no impact on Nowitzki not being selected to throw out the first pitch.

Right. And I like Minka Kelly for her acting skills.

Nowitzki threw out the first pitch at the Rangers’ June 24 game, right after the Mavericks won the title. It was a pretty good pitch, actually, Nowitzki has a little J.R. Richards in there.

Hey, Bug Selig and other MLB owners, I get you like the other insanely rich old white guys (and Michael Jordan) and want to back them, but let the teams pick their first pitch guys without interference. Or instant karma’s going to get you.

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

4 Comments

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

Getty Images
10 Comments

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

6 Comments

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.