Forbes wants you to know they still don’t buy owners’ math

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It has been one of the more interesting sidebars to the entire NBA lockout:

From the start the NBA owners have said they lost $300 million last year, $400 million the year before and money pretty much every year in the past decade. The players and plenty of others have called that, um, well let’s say fertilizer. They note that the losses include debt service on loans to buy teams and when owners do things like own the arena and team there’s plenty of ways to have the money shift pockets.

In an article at Forbes.com Wednesday talking about the lockout math, the magazine once again took shots at the owners’ claims of loss. (Hat tip to Zach Lowe.)

When you tally the aggregate projected operating incomes of all 30 NBA teams, this yields a surplus of $182.6 million. Granted, Forbes may not be privy to all the financial data that ultimately determine a team’s financial position…and their estimates have come under scrutiny before for this reason.

But $482.6 million off? That seems a stretch. Even if Forbes’ operating income estimates are inflated by 25% (which I seriously doubt), you’re still looking at $137 million in aggregate profits.

I don’t think you’ll find anyone who isn’t paid to slide on an NBA uniform who didn’t think the old NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement needed changing. There were issues. But the idea that the owners needed to damage the game like this because of the massive financial losses they incurred remains questionable. At best. Which makes their hardline fighting all the more ridiculous.

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?