Lance Stephenson invades Heat huddle, appears to tick off Erik Spoelstra (video)

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As the referees reviewed a foul call late in the third quarter of Game 5, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra called Norris Cole toward the bench to offer instruction.

Pacers forward Lance Stephenson joined the conversation, and Spoelstra looked none too pleased.

Invading opponent’s huddles happens – nobody has done it better than Marcin Gortat – but I understand why Spoelstra is upset. Lance is a pest, trying to get under everyone’s skin. Whether that’s blowing in LeBron James’ ear or calling out LeBron publicly, Stephenson is not afraid to toe the line or maybe even cross it right into a discussion between a Miami coach and player.

After the game, LeBron was asked about Stephenson’s antics. Watch how he inflects the word “professionals.”

I don’t really – I mean, I’m just here to play basketball, man. All the extracurricular activities, I don’t really get into. I mean, I’m just trying to win. We need one more game to get the Finals. That’s my only concern.  We put ourselves in a position to win tonight, and as competitors, as PROFESSIONALS, that’s what we are. At the end of the day, we put ourselves in a position to win. All the extra, whatever Lance wants to deal with, I don’t really care about that.

I’ve been impressed how LeBron and Dwyane Wade have answered questions about the Pacers’ ridiculousness with straight faces. You don’t think part of LeBron just wanted to rail on Stephenson for the pain he is? But LeBron and Wade keep taking the high road.

So, I love that very slight emphasis on  “professionals.” Excellently and subtly done, LeBron.

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.”