Doc Rivers doesn’t agree with Allen’s reasons for leaving

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In the end, Ray Allen left because Miami made him feel wanted.

Celtics GM Danny Ainge shopped Allen around more than a year — at one point the deal got so far he was told he was being moved only to have it still fall apart last minute. Then he goes to Miami and hears Pat Riley tell him they want him as a player, not some asset. They want him to help get them more rings. It wasn’t about money — Allen has made $178 million in salary alone during his career already — this was about feeling wanted. Not shockingly, Doc Rivers disagrees with Allen’s reasoning.

Rivers was watching the Celtics Summer League team when he told the Boston Herald (via CSNNE.com) he still respects Ray, but….

“No, I didn’t agree, but that doesn’t matter,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what I think. I just wish we could have found a way [to sign Allen], and we didn’t. Always put it on us — it’s easier.” “Kevin Garnett was our focal point, and he should have been,” said Rivers. “If that got anyone ruffled, then that’s probably too bad . . . He probably got bent sideways a bit by us courting Kevin. I really don’t know, honestly.” “He talked to me. It was a good talk,” Rivers said. “You know how I am. A guy makes his mind up, I’m not going to try and change it. I respect him for all he did for us, and I thought he should have stayed with us. Actually, you just have to let it go.”

Celtics fans are not going to let it go the first time Miami comes to Boston next season. Or the second. Or….

But in the end Boston’s management’s past actions could not match the words of Pat Riley. And now Ray Allen will be knocking down threes in a Heat jersey.

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?