Former NBA player Jayson Williams released from jail

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It’s a sad story, but hopefully now it is over.

Jayson Williams was an NBA All-Star who seemed poised to have a good career post-playing in the broadcast booth. But that all came crashing down hard 10 years ago when a shotgun Williams was holding in his home discharged and killed his driver, Costas “Gus” Christofi.

Williams was sentenced to five years for that crime (serving 18 months) plus more time for a driving under the influence charge, but he was let out of a New Jersey prison Friday, reports the Star-Ledger.

“I am eager to see my daughters, my mother and siblings and make amends for what they’ve been through,” Williams told The Associated Press through his manager. “Start my life over with God being first and in the center of everything I do.”

Williams was a standout player at St. John’s who was one of the better rebounding big men in the game in the 1990s. He was a 1998 All-Star, but in 1999 a collision with teammate Stephon Marbury left his Williams’ leg shattered and he never played in another NBA game.

He went into the broadcast booth and was a rising star there until the incident where his driver was killed. Williams was found guilty by a jury of trying to cover up the shooting but they could not reach agreement on manslaughter charges. Williams reached a plea that had him spend 18 months in jail. When out, the DUI violated his parole and sent him back to prison for 8 months.

Hopefully now he can put everything behind him and move on with his life.

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?