Ainge refuses comment on Allen rift with Rondo, looks to move forward

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The Boston Globe spoke with Danny Ainge about the departure of Ray Allen. Ainge wouldn’t specifically mention Allen, focusing only on the future because he didn’t want to comment publicly before the July 11th period where teams can actually sign free agents starts. From the Globe (comments excerpted, read the entire post for more context on the Celtics):

“Obviously we need to fill the void, we need another shooting guard, of course,” he said. “There are a lot of good players left. We’re limited to what we can do with the biannual exception we need to wait and see.”

“We have been in contact with the whole list of guys you would look at,” Ainge said. “I don’t want to mention names but we have been in contact with them. We’ll continue to find the best player we can.”

“We’ve added a couple of great professionals in Jeff Green and Jason Terry and we drafted three guys that I think are very professional and add to the locker room,” Ainge said. “Talent is a hard thing to find but we put a great deal of value into what goes on in the locker room also.”

via Ainge, Celtics move on after Allen departure -Celtics blog – Boston Globe basketball news.

Ainge also wouldn’t comment on the reported rift between Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen, and what impact that might have had on Allen’s decision. Bear in mind that Ainge, again, wouldn’t comment on any of it because of the July 11th deadline, but he could have dismissed that element tactfully if he wanted to. Which means there’s probably some truth to it.

One thing that has arisen is the question of whether it was an on-court or off-court issue between the two that really drove them apart. There have been comments about Allen being frustrated with Rondo not finding Allen on the perimeter. But Allen is such a smart player, it’s very difficult to believe he wouldn’t understand why Rondo wouldn’t find him, because of the defense, angle, or whatever. He’s had enough passes not thrown to him in his career not to focus on that. The issues are most likely personal. Rondo is known as a very acerbic personality, and that can grade on people. Rondo has modeled himself after KG in the way he approaches the media and the game in general, seething instead of raging, boiling instead of exploding. Allen is a level-headed, warm-hearted professional. No wonder they didn’t get along.

Ainge is looking forward but anything he gets back will be minor. The big addition is Jason Terry, and that’s more than enough. Anything else they add will have to be gravy.

It’s not about the shoes: Kevin Durant loses his, blocks two shots anyway

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Shoes? Kevin Durant don’t need no stinkin’ shoes.

Early in the second quarter of the Warriors win in New Orleans Friday, Durant came out of his shoes on a layup in the lane. He then picked up his shoe, carried it to the other end, flipped it to the bench, and played defense without it, and while he got moved out of the way allowing an offensive rebound for the Pelicans he then proceeded to block Tony Allen twice at the rim.

Durant — after deciding to play the rest of the game in shoes — had seven blocks on the night, to go with 22 points.

Joel Embiid frustrated, wants more post touches, to play back-to-backs

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Joel Embiid remains a frustrated man.

He wants to be unleashed on the NBA, and he feels he’s being held back.

Part of that is not playing in back-to-backs — Embiid started Friday night against Boston but will sit out by plan Saturday night against the Raptors in Toronto. Embiid knows the plan to help protect a body that has played only 31 games in three seasons before this one and was not cleared for most of training camp, but that doesn’t mean he likes it, as he told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said.  “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I can’t play back-to-back.”

I get his frustration, but can you blame the Sixers for treating the guy like he’s made of glass at this point? Hopefully, later in the season, he can be cleared to play on both ends.

His second frustration came from the loss to the Celtics on Friday — he wants more post touches. In the video above he is clear, “I didn’t get the ball enough in the post.”

He’s right here. Embiid had three post-ups all game, one in each of the game’s first three quarters (stat via Synergy Sports). Embiid is efficient in the post — he has shot 9-of-12 on those plays overall this season and the Sixers score 1.33 points per possession when he does. That will work especially well against teams going small (for example, the Cavaliers with Kevin Love at the five), although Friday night Boston had big man Aron Baynes starting at center (in part because of Embiid, in part because Marcus Smart was out injured). Still, Embiid can score on Baynes.

Take a look at Embiid’s shot chart from Friday night.

Part of this is on him with all the threes, but they have to utilize him better. It’s part of the Sixers growing pains that will come this season.

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.