Andrew Bynum could be out until around Christmas

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It’s a pattern that just feels all too familiar for him — the timetable for Andrew Bynum’s debut with the 76ers has been pushed back as he recovers from knee issues.

After a fresh MRI, the Philadelphia 76ers announced Monday that Bynum would not be cleared to be involved with “normal basketball activity” — what you and I call practice — until about December 10. If he can stick to that timetable, it would be at least another week or two (maybe more) before he is ready to enter a game.

So the Sixers could have Bynum back around Christmas

Bynum had gone to Germany this summer to have Orthokine treatment — the blood-spinning knee treatment that Kobe Bryant made famous (Bynum had that done previous years as well). He returned to Philadelphia with a bone bruise in his knee and he did not participate at the start of camp. He had an injection of a synthetic lubricant to help his knee. Then one day he went trough one drill at camp, said he felt “discomfort He has been shut down ever since.

The Sixers traded for Bynum this summer, part of the massive Dwight Howard trade. Philly gave up Andre Iguodala for the rare chance to get a young, All-Star, franchise anchor center.

After a strong preseason, the Sixers are 4-2 to start the season without Bynum.

Bynum is a free agent at the end of this season. The Sixers have wanted to re-signed him, but that negotiation is getting more interesting by the day.

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?