P.J. Tucker gets jail time for super extreme DUI, apologizes

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P.J. Tucker was arrested in May after driving erratically and then registering a .222 blood-alcohol content. 

Following the incident, Tucker signed a three-year, $16.5 million contract with the Phoenix Suns. The Suns reportedly knew about the charge – called super extreme DUI – when re-signing the starting small forward.

Now, Tucker is taking responsibility – both through the legal system and with a public statement.

Kevin Zimmerman of Valley of the Suns:

Tucker pleaded guilty to super extreme DUI at a disposition hearing at Scottsdale City Court and will spend three days in jail in addition to other penalties.

In addition to his jail time, Tucker will face 11 days house arrest, though he will be able to leave for work for no more than 12 hours per day. He will submit to substance abuse screening and counseling, and could face probation for up to five years. Tucker will also have an interlock device installed on his vehicle and have to pay several fines.

Tucker and Suns president Lon Babby also released statements, as relayed by Zimmerman.

Tucker:

“I would like to express my gratitude to the people of Phoenix for their love and support during my time as a Phoenix Sun. Thank you to the Phoenix Suns organization for supporting me throughout this difficult time. And, of course my wife Tracey, family and friends, who just keep loving me. I cannot express how much I appreciate and value the many blessings that I have been given – love and abundance that I never imagined. I am truly blessed. I am so grateful that no one was hurt as a result of my choice to drive impaired.

I am truly sorry and I take full responsibility for my actions. No excuses. It is now my responsibility to examine my life and make the changes necessary to ensure this never happens again. That process has begun and will continue with the love and support of my family, friends and, of course, the amazing Phoenix Suns.

There is both a lesson and an opportunity in this experience: I learned the lesson the hard way – the opportunity is to ensure others don’t.

The good that resulted from making this mistake is realizing people’s capacity to forgive. Thank you all so much for the love and forgiveness that I have received throughout this time.

I will not let you down.

Thank you.”

Babby:

“Like P.J. himself, the Phoenix Suns take P.J.’s behavior very seriously. We remain fully committed to the highest standards of personal and professional conduct as we develop a championship culture. All of the members of our team, both on the court and in the front office, understand the importance of obeying the law and conducting ourselves in a way that honors our community. In considering this matter, we concluded that P.J. was sincere in his remorse and in his resolve to accept the consequences of his actions. We are convinced that he will take the necessary steps to avoid any such conduct in the future. The Suns do not in any way condone his conduct, but we do support him as he works through this.”

It’s good to see Tucker say all the right things. That’s all he can do at this point.

Hopefully, he heeds his words going forward.

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.