Report: Lakers add North Carolina’s Roy Williams to coaching list

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This is a North Carolina thing.

If you want to see the even-keeled GM of the Lakers Mitch Kupchak get fired up, tap to him about his beloved alma mater of North Carolina losing (especially to Duke). Like a lot of former Tar Heels, he loves the place.

Roy Williams is the coach of the Tar Heels now, a guy some NBA front offices have wanted to talk to in the past. So… take it away Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.

The Lakers’ interview list for a new coach keeps growing. North Carolina Coach Roy Williams was added to it most recently. It’s not the first time Williams will have been approached by the Lakers. He told them in 2004 he was not interested in coaching them after Phil Jackson’s first tour ended with the team.

This fits with the Lakers plan for finding a new coach: Go slow, cast a very wide net, figure out who is the best fit. The Lakers likely will not hire a coach until June, but they want to have one in place before the draft.

Williams has won two NCAA titles at North Carolina. I highly doubt he leaves Chapel Hill, but the Lakers will ask. Kupchak will ask.

Mike D’Antoni resigned as Lakers coach in a mutual decision last week.

Other top candidates for this position that the Lakers want to speak to include Byron Scott, George Karl, Jeff Van Gundy, John Calipari, and Kevin Ollie. There will be others.

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?