Report: Allen Iverson to officially retire from basketball

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Allen Iverson has not set foot on an NBA court since 2009-10, a season split between the Grizzlies and Sixers that did not go well for anyone. Since then he has played in Turkey for a season but NBA teams have not thought the level of distraction would be worth the level of production for the one time force of nature.

Now The Answer is going to officially call it quits, reports SLAM.

Allen Iverson is prepared to officially announce his retirement from the NBA in the coming days, a source close to the native of Virginia told SLAM….

“He loves his fans more than anyone,” says the source. “He loves how they ask for his return constantly, on the streets and on the Internet. But now that they know it’s not happening, he can just focus on his future endeavors.”

This isn’t really a surprise, it was just a matter of Iverson recognizing it was over and deciding he didn’t want to pick up anymore paychecks overseas. He leaves behind him a great legacy in the game.

Iverson will be a Hall of Famer, and he should be on his first ballot in 2015. The 11-time All-Star averaged 26.7 points, 6.2 assists and 2.2 steals a game in his 13-year career. He helped lead the Sixers to the NBA Finals in 2001.

Watching the 6’0” Iverson fearlessly slice his way into the lane and find ways to score among the forest of trees in the NBA paint was one of the most amazing things I have witnessed in the game. There have been few players ever as dynamic and as entertaining as Iverson.

But it was off the court where Iverson’s impact was really felt — he was the first to bring a hip-hop culture, a real street look to the game. Young African-Americans related to him in a way they did not with other stars — he looked like a guy from the neighborhood. He in a lot of ways paved the way for players to be themselves off the court, something with social media today’s players have taken to new heights.

If he does make it official, it’s not really shocking, but it is a good time to reflect on one of the best and most exciting guards to play the game. We miss his game. Few people overcame the obstacles he did to star in the league, and he will forever be the favorite for many.

Joel Embiid frustrated, wants more post touches, to play back-to-backs

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Joel Embiid remains a frustrated man.

He wants to be unleashed on the NBA, and he feels he’s being held back.

Part of that is not playing in back-to-backs — Embiid started Friday night against Boston but will sit out by plan Saturday night against the Raptors in Toronto. Embiid knows the plan to help protect a body that has played only 31 games in three seasons before this one and was not cleared for most of training camp, but that doesn’t mean he likes it, as he told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said.  “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I can’t play back-to-back.”

I get his frustration, but can you blame the Sixers for treating the guy like he’s made of glass at this point? Hopefully, later in the season, he can be cleared to play on both ends.

His second frustration came from the loss to the Cavaliers on Friday — he wants more post touches. In the video above he is clear, “I didn’t get the ball enough in the post.”

He’s right here. Embiid had three post-ups all game, one in each of the game’s first three quarters (stat via Synergy Sports). Embiid is efficient in the post — he has shot 9-of-12 on those plays overall this season and the Sixers score 1.33 points per possession when he does. Especially against a team going small — the Cavaliers start Kevin Love at center — Embiid should be fed down low.

Instead, look at his shot chart from Friday night.

Part of this is on him with all the threes, but they have to utilize him better. It’s part of the Sixers growing pains that will come this season.

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.