Video: Brandon Roy takes another step towards return with Seattle Pro-Am appearance

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Brandon Roy’s trip back to basketball relevance is a process. It won’t come over night and its apex is somewhere dramatically short of the career ceiling he had as an NBA star, which would have included the Hall of Fame. Now it’s more “capable role player who can contribute,” but there are still steps to take. And Saturday night, Roy took one.

Roy appeared in the Jamal Crawford Pro-Am in Seattle and Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus wrote about it for Blazers Edge:

Again, the setting makes it difficult to offer definitive conclusions. I would have liked to see more of Roy and Webster matched up against one another to get a sense for a matchup Roy might actually see in the NBA. This being the summer, defense is optional, and both teams poured in better than 110 points as Roy’s Bulls pulled away with a 14-1 run midway through the fourth quarter. I’d estimate Roy probably finished with somewhere around 25 points, 10 boards and five assists; Thomas might have scored 35 points.

As limited as Saturday may have been from a scouting perspective, it was great to see Roy on the court again. His apparent early retirement was painful both because of the joy the game brought him and the joy his game brought all of us. On Saturday, we saw just a little bit of it again.

via Recap: Brandon Roy Returns To Court In Seattle Pro-Am – Blazer’s Edge.

And here’s video of the game including some of Roy’s ability to dart inside and finish at the rim.

He’s got a long ways to go, obviously. The legs are going to take time getting back to game-condition and even then, you have to hope they can structurally maintain for a full season with the Wolves. But Roy can still cook. That’s good to see.

That’s really good to see.

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?