Report: Team USA sets 19 players for preliminary Olympic roster

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The USA will send 12 men to London this summer to suit up and defend America’s gold medal from the last Olympic games.

And that dozen will come from these 19 guys, according Chris Sheridan at SheridanHoops.com who broke the story of the preliminary roster. We’ve broken them out by position (they are alphabetical in their category):

Guards: Chauncey Billups, Kobe Bryant, Eric Gordon, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams.

Forwards: LaMarcus Aldridge, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Andre Iguodala, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom.

Centers: Tyson Chandler, Dwight Howard.

What seven players get trimmed from that list? My guess (barring injury) is Billups, Gordon, Westbrook, Williams, Aldridge, Iguodala and Odom. Tough cuts, but I think you need the size of Chandler and Howard to match up with the size of Spain (Gasol brothers plus Serge Ibaka). It’s tough at the guard spot, do you cut D-Will, and if you keep him do you hack out Rose or cut Chandler as the big? I love Aldridge but for the international game I want Love more because he can space the floor and knock down the shorter international three. Do you keep them both and cut Griffin? Probably not.

Coach K. has some hard choices ahead of him. The roster needs to be submitted to the Olympics June 20, which is before the Finals may even end. Team USA camp is scheduled to open July 5 in Las Vegas.

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?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”