Looks like Jeff Green is healthy, will re-sign with Celtics

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Boston fans seem to love the whole “if we were healthy, if we had Jeff Green, the playoffs would have been different” idea. I hate what ifs, and I think this year was the Celtics last deep run with this core.

But they would have been better with Jeff Green, who had to walk away from the team before the season when tests found an aortic aneurysm that required heart surgery to repair.

But he is healthy now and wants to re-sign with the Celtics for next season, his agent David Falk told the Boston Herald.

“He’s been 100 percent cleared,” said Falk. “He’s playing 5-on-5 basketball. He’s not quite yet in Jeff Green shape. Jeff is a physical marvel. He’s about 4 percent body fat. But in Jeff’s case, the experience he went through will be a life-changing experience.”

Generally I want to take anything I hear from an agent with a few grains of salt, but I hope this is true. Green is a fantastic athlete that needs to become a little more focused on defense and pick his spots better in games, but he can certainly help a team. Especially in the sixth man role the Celtics wanted to use him in.

Both Green and the Celtics want to get a deal done. Green can’t sign until July 11 (nobody can, there is a moratorium in place until then) but expect the deal to get done soon after.

For the record, I’m not sure how much it helps the Celtics. Last season everything broke for them in the playoffs — they might not get out of the first round if Al Horford were healthy, they would not have gotten past a Bulls team with a healthy Derrick Rose, and if Chris Bosh had been healthy the Heat would have wiped them out in five games. Getting to a Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals was a bit of a mirage, Boston is good but not that good, but they are going to get the band back together and give it one more run. But Green or no Green, to make another deep run will require everything to go their way again.

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?