Hawks’ Josh Smith sprains knee, questionable for Game 3

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The Hawks have enough trouble after a Celtics team without Rajon Rondo evened the series Tuesday night, now they may have to go without one of their two best players.

Josh Smith left the court with 4:20 remaining after a collision with Kevin Garnett (video is below) and did not return. While this is not a Derrick Rose-like blowout, it is a sprain Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo tweeted.

Atlanta’s Josh Smith has sprained patella ligament in knee, source tells Y! “He walked out of arena w/ no help, just gingerly,” source says.

This would be a blow for the Hawks — he had 16 points and 12 boards in Game 2, and the Hawks were down 2 with the ball when he left the game but fell apart after and lost by 7. Smith is the key to the Hawks getting points and rebounds in the paint, providing some balance on offense. If he cannot go Atlanta loses a major weapon.

The Hawks are already without the best big man in Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia is hoping to return later in this series. Without Smith the Hawks will give Boston a steady diet of Jason Collins and Ivan Johnson. That will not be enough against Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass.

Video via @Jose3030

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?