Bucks set franchise record with 63 losses

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The Bucks were the eight seed in the playoffs last season, and despite trading Brandon Jennings in the offseason, made some additional moves to bring in talent in hopes of remaining competitive this year.

It was the opposite of what the front office chose to do in Philadelphia, where tanking has been the buzz word most commonly used to describe the Sixers strategy.

Yet with just a few games remaining on the schedule, and despite Philadelphia tying an NBA record by racking up 26 straight losses, it’s the Bucks that find themselves with the league’s worst record, purely by accident.

From the Associated Press via NBA.com:

The Bucks set a franchise record for futility this season, though they aren’t dwelling on their failures.

With its 102-98 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night, Milwaukee established a dubious club record with its 63rd loss. It sealed the team’s fate as the biggest loser in the franchise’s 45-year history. …

This version of the Bucks topped the record for futility that the 1993-94 Bucks previously held, going 20-62 in Vin Baker’s rookie season. Milwaukee won the NBA draft lottery that spring, selected Glenn Robinson from Purdue and used that as a springboard to get to the Eastern Conference finals in the 2000-2001 season.

The Bucks had their two biggest offseason moves backfire completely. O.J. Mayo experienced a statistical decline in his performance, and Larry Sanders, the recipient of a four-year, $44 million contract extension in the offseason, has been nothing short of a disaster, for a variety of reasons.

Add in the fact that Milwaukee has had 14 players miss a combined 247 games due to injury, and that’s how you get a franchise record of 63 losses — with five games still remaining on this season’s schedule.

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.”