Chris Bosh pulls name from Olympic consideration

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Team USA takes another blow to its front line.

Chris Bosh played through an injury to beat Boston and win an NBA championship, but he never fully recovered from his abdominal strain that had him out for nine games of the playoffs.

To recover from that, he has pulled his name from consideration for the United States Olympic Team headed to London, reports the Associated Press after speaking with Bosh’s agent.

Pat Riley suggested this might be coming, via Chris Tomasson at Fox Sports Florida.

“Chris is still nursing an injury,” Riley said. “He had a significant abdominal injury. If we weren’t in the playoffs against Boston, he probably would not have played for another three or four weeks.”

Bosh is the second Miami Heat player to withdraw from the competition in as many days, Dwyane Wade announced the same thing Thursday saying he needs to undergo knee surgery.

Losing Bosh leaves Team USA a little thin along the front lines — Dwight Howard and LaMarcus Aldridge have already withdrawn their names due to injury (as has Derrick Rose). That will leave Tyson Chandler as the starting and only traditional center, after that guys like Kevin Love will need to step in and play the five.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski has a pre-camp workout planned with Blake Griffin, Lamar Odom and Anthony Davis. That takes on an added significance now.

The USA will still be loaded with talent, but missing those guys along the front line will matter if, as expected, Team USA has to face Spain for the Gold medal. Spain starts Marc and Pau Gasol up front and brings Serge Ibaka off the bench, the USA will need size to combat that.

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?