NBA makes new League Pass features official, all nationally televised games now archived

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When the NBA posted the list of features for its League Pass offering this season, a couple of new ones immediately caught the attention of the hardcore fans that routinely pay for the privilege of watching every game during the regular season.

A limitation in the past was the lack of nationally televised games available, which was an issue because a lot of the most highly-anticipated matchups appear on ABC, TNT, ESPN, or NBA TV.

While they’re still not available live through League Pass, they are now part of the archives, which means you can watch them after they’ve aired or even days later.

From the official release:

“NBA LEAGUE PASS will mark its 20th season by providing fans with new features including direct access to a national game archive featuring all televised games on ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV throughout the regular season, and live feeds of both home and away team broadcasts for all games.

“The new enhancements will be available on NBA LEAGUE PASS Broadband, which is available complimentary to NBA LEAGUE PASS and as a standalone product.  Additional package options include NBA LEAGUE PASS Mobile and NBA LEAGUE PASS Choice, allowing fans to choose up to five teams to watch during the regular season.”

The second enhanced feature is the ability to choose which broadcast you want to see, which is great if you want your hometown feed instead of hearing your favorite team being disparaged by the opponent’s on-air crew (we’re looking at you, Sean Elliott).

The league confirmed its pricing for the various League Pass offerings a few weeks back, and it’s worth noting that you’ll get the best deal if you purchase the package through your cable or satellite provider. You’ll get the TV, broadband, and mobile versions all for an early bird price of $189 by doing it this way.

If you don’t have cable, you can still purchase the League Pass Broadband offering by itself for the same price for all 30 teams, or you can choose five teams to watch and pay just $129. The mobile version alone will set you back $49.99.

League Pass was already a must-have for NBA fans everywhere. The ability to now get all of the nationally televised games through the service via the archives is a fantastic upgrade, at no additional cost.

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?