Stoudemire has ruptured cyst in knee, to miss start of Knicks’ season

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This is not an ideal start to the season in Manhattan.

Amar’e Stoudemire will miss the Knicks regular season opener against the Nets, likely followed by another game or two, as he recovers from a minor knee problem. Al Iannazzone, who covers the Knicks for Newsday, broke the story.

This is, in and of itself, not that serious (if the cyst really is all there is). It doesn’t require surgery. He likely misses just a few games. But there are bigger implications and questions.

First, popliteal cysts are often a sign of arthritis or other damage. More chronic issues.

The other issue, the big question, is how does coach Mike Woodson adjust his starting lineup? I would recommend moving Carmelo Anthony to the four spot, where he can be very dangerous (he was for Team USA this summer) and essentially go with a smaller, quicker lineup anchored by Tyson Chandler in the paint. Start Raymond Felton, J.R. Smith, Ronnie Brewer, Anthony and Chandler. I’ve got a feeling as the season goes on that may be a very effective lineup for the Knicks. (Even though that could create waves in the NYC media as they see the team is less effective with Stoudemire on the floor.)

‘Melo at the four is especially smart since Woodson’s next likely option at the four is Kurt Thomas. Anthony can still be on the wing like he wants from the four spot, but if the Knicks are playing Thomas as the starter it’s going to be a rough way to start the season. (Technically the Knicks could go the other way and go big, put Marcus Camby at the four, but then there is no center depth and he can’t really handle the minutes.)

The fun is already starting in New York.

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?