Charles Oakley thinks the Magic should have put Dwight Howard “in time-out”

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It takes a lot for players not to stick up for other players when it comes to disputes with management. Ownership and management have no loyalty towards the player, and in CBA disputes, well, you know who’s on who’s side. So the players speak up for any player that goes through something difficult.

Except when it comes to Charles Oakley, who could give a (insert your favorite phrase here) about what people think, and Dwight Howard’s situation with the Magic. From ESPN radio, courtesy of Eye on Basketball:

“A lot of guys cry in this league these days. I try not to get caught up in that. The management in Orlando let him get away with it. Most times, they put kids in timeout. They never put him in timeout. He just kept crying and got his way. Now he’s in LA with Kobe so they got a chance to win a couple championships in the next two or three years.

“They could have traded him and got something better for him last year. I think they just tried to play along. They just pleased him anyway they could but he never did anything to please them.”

via Charles Oakley: Orlando Magic needed to put ‘crying’ Dwight Howard ‘in timeout’ – CBSSports.com.

What should we say to that? My first thought is “Amen.”

The Magic’s mistake with Dwight Howard wasn’t keeping him last year instead of trading him. It wasn’t the package they got in the trade, and it wasn’t how long it took. It was the series of emotional responses they gave in handling the situation, and how they avoided tough decisions because of feelings they had about Howard. They needed to be calm, cool, and rational to get on top of it, and instead they wound up making desperate pleas and seeming like some emo-struck teenager.

With Rob Hennigan in charge, they’ve got a shot at getting things back under control. But the thing for them to take away from this debacle is that you can’t control how the superstars are going to act, but you can control your reaction to it and the standards you set for your organization.

(HT: Eye on Basketball)

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?