Lavoy Allen’s not conceding the starting gig yet, no matter what coach Collins says

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Lavoy Allen made a name for himself in the playoffs last year as “The KG Stopper.” He did a phenomenal job against Garnett, who had been dominant in the playoffs up until that point. Naturally, Doug Collins went away from Allen and played Spencer Hawes for longer stretches, despite Garnett taking Hawes’ lunch money and throwing him in the deep puddle in the parking lot. Which isn’t some huge knock. It’s Kevin Garnett.

But apparently that wasn’t enough for Doug Collins, who said that Hawes and newcomer Kwame Brown will start next year, making for a killer combination of players with terrible production relative to their draft stock. Both players are capable, Hawes offensively, Brown defensively, but Allen has higher upside and brought more to the table last year.

Allen, though, isn’t bothered by his coach’s comments. From CSN Philadelphia:

“It doesn’t bother me,” Allen said while at an appearance for a basketball showcase at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in South Jersey on Saturday afternoon. “You never know what can happen once training camp rolls around. You don’t know who’s going to do what. Coach says that now, but you never know what he’s thinking. He switched the lineup many times last year.”

via Allen on not starting: ‘Coach says that now’.

What’s the over/under on how long until Allen cements the starting job? 25 games? Maybe 40? It’s entirely possible that Allen takes a step back, he didn’t set the world on fire last season or anything, he just played well and with an aggressiveness the Sixers need down low. But Hawes also played above his career production last season. It’ll be interesting to see how this dynamic plays out during the course of the season. But if the Sixers face the Celtics in the playoffs again and the same decision tree is used, Garnett could once again feast and be the deciding factor.

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?