Friday Video: Kevin McHale working in the post

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1. This is my favorite YouTube highlight video of all time. One of my big NBA theories is that what makes an NBA player great is not the ability to convert difficult shots, but to create easy ones. Most YouTube highlight videos, by their nature, are a compilation of difficult long jumpers or a quick cut to a thunderous dunk or impossibly acrobatic layup. McHale’s video actually shows how he used his footwork, counter-moves, and freakishly long arms to create easy shots, and it’s a thing of beauty.

2. Kevin McHale has a career True Shooting percentage of 60.5%, and twice averaged more than 20 points a game on better than 60% shooting from the field. Al Jefferson, who is considered one of the best young post players in the NBA and had McHale as his coach, has a career true shooting percentage of 53.4% and hasn’t shot over 50% from the field since the 06-07 season. How did Big Al not learn a few more of McHale’s moves?

3. Watch how good McHale is at stepping through or shooting over double teams — McHale didn’t pass all that often, but he had good reasons not to.

4. Watch how good McHale is at sealing off and getting deep position by using angles and his long arms, even though he wasn’t very thick.

5. Having followed LeBron James’ career closely for some time now, it’s almost painful to watch this video and then see James completely perplexed when he’s working one-on-one down on the block.

6. I miss Yao Ming already.

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?