Celtics sign Leandro Barbosa to backup Rajon Rondo

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Well, I guess they are bringing in a veteran after all.

The Boston Celtics have agreed to a one-year deal with point guard Leandro Barbosa, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and the NBC Sports Network.

The Celtics decided on Tuesday to let Dionte Christmas go and there were reports they might start to look for a veteran backup for Rajon Rondo. Barbosa was the best name on the market. Barbosa is speedy point guard who most remember as Steve Nash’s backup in Phoenix for years but his game has slipped following that early promise. He started last season in Toronto but came to Indiana at the trade deadline. He averaged 8.9 points per game for the Pacers but had almost as many turnovers as assists. He shot just 39.9 percent overall (but did knock down threes consistently). In the playoffs his play dropped off as did his minutes, particularly against the Heat in the second round. He was not effective.

Barbosa is not really good anymore, there’s a reason he was still on the market. He’s a below-average backup point guard. But in limited minutes with good talent around him and a strong locker room, he could serve the Celtics’ purposes. He’d probably play as well or better than Christmas, and better than any other point guards on the market (Derek Fisher, Jonny Flynn, and it gets worse from there). That said, they can’t expect much from him. This needs to be a small role. For a lot of teams I’d question this signing, but for Boston this could work out.

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?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”