Wizard’s Wittman tries to keep perspective on 2-15 start

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The Washington Wizards are a league-worst 2-15, a team not exactly deep with talent to start now beset by injuries, a team where the healthy veterans are not living up to their billing and the young players look like young players.

Often that is when a coach feels pressure, although Wittman shouldn’t. For one, it’s not his fault there isn’t much talent on the roster and the real talent they do have has been injured. Plus, he is in the first year of his deal and the Wizards are still paying off the last year of Flip Saunders deal, that’s a lot of money for coaches already. Besides, a new coach isn’t changing the situation here.

Wittman, for his part, told CSNWashington.com he is trying to keep things in perspective.

“There is a lot going on out there in the real world that kind of brings you back to reality,” Wittman said before the 2-15 Wizards boarded a flight for New Orleans, where they will take on the 5-14 Hornets Tuesday night.

“From Kevin McHale losing his daughter to the Kansas City situation, the Dallas situation. There are a lot of things that are a lot more important than winning and losing a game, although that’s our livelihood.”

He’s right. Basketball is not life and death. It should not ever be so. I’ve always been a fan of the Bob Costas line: If you say a tragedy in the sports world brings it into perspective, then you lost your perspective to start with.

But it is a competitive business and right now the Wizards are not competitive. If they don’t become so over the course of this season, things will get a lot more serious for Wittman and other Wizards personnel.

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.”