Sixers slow down Bynum timetable, so don’t bet on opening night

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The team won’t say it, but I will:

Don’t expect to see Andrew Bynum in a Sixers uniform opening night. Expect to see him in a nice jacket and shirt.

Sixers fans will get to see Andre Iguodala that night running the floor in Denver Nuggets powder blue (that’s who the Sixers face), but they are not going to see the guy they traded Iggy to get. Welcome to life with Bynum.

He was set to start practices with Philadelphia on Wednesday but felt “discomfort” in his knee and was pulled out of drills. The Sixers have been cautious with Bynum and that is not changing now, the team’s GM told CSNPhilly.com.

“We are going to hold him from basketball related activities until he is pain-free,” general manager Tony DiLeo said. “He is improving so it is nothing new, but it is something that is not completely healed, so we are going to hold him out until he is pain-free.

“He is a big investment for our team so we want to be cautious and we want to make sure, especially at the beginning of the season that it is healed and we can put him out on the court at the right time.”

The Sixers open play in a week and Bynum has not even practiced with the team. Both Bynum and DiLeo would not rule him out of the opener, but we can all do the math.

Bynum’s arthritic knees are not new news, but he went to Germany this summer for the “Kobe Bryant treatment” then on Monday had a Synvisc injection to help add lubrication to the joint. But he suffered a bone bruise in pre-camp workouts and everything is still not right.

“It is progressively getting better,” Bynum said. “I am not as sore. They are being cautious. The doctors, the team, we are all cautious because we want to avoid any kind of setback. That is where we are. I am being reevaluated and I will be alright.”

Sixers fans, be patient. You can ask your Laker fan brethren and they will tell you this is how it goes with Bynum’s knees. Two steps forward, one step back. It takes a while. But you’ve pushed your chips into the pile with Bynum, you’re committed. So it’s better to be patient here and get him right. Even is that is frustrating.

Report: NBA referees will live-tweet Warriors, Sixers games next week

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The one rule of Twitter is something that NBA officials are apparently willing to sidestep. That rule?

Never tweet.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, NBA referees will tweet from their official Twitter account during NBA games this season and hold back-and-forth conversations with fans about calls during games.

It seems like something that would immediately go wrong, but officials have done this before. They held Twitter conversations during last season’s Finals and they apparently feel as though they went well enough to do this sort of thing again.

Via ESPN:

This season, the NBA league office has agreed to work in collaboration with the referee union on this project. As part of the deal, the tweeting referees will have access to the league’s replay center in Secaucus, New Jersey, just like the officials who are on duty that evening, so they can have all the angles available to answer questions.

The union and the NBA plan a series of these games over the next few months, including some playoff games.

You will be able to tweet at @OfficialNBARefs or use #RefWatchParty during Monday’s game between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers, or Wednesday’s matchup between the San Antonio Spurs and Philadelphia 76ers.

It’ll be interesting to monitor this thing and see where it goes. Even the most inane opinions can be shot down by the twittersphere so watching actual NBA referees try to defend themselves against the hordes could get wild.

Raptors’ Pascal Siakam beats Suns with incredible drive at the buzzer

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Pascal Siakam has been an important part of the Toronto Raptors organization for a couple of seasons now. Siakam has been a target in requested trades with the Raptors, but general manager Masai Ujiri wants to hang on to the burgeoning Cameroonian forward.

That’s probably wise.

As time wound down in Thursday night’s game between the Raptors and Phoenix Suns, Siakam found himself with the ball at the top of the arc and the game on the line. Siakam had Mikal Bridges isolated up top, and wound up going to his left to score the game-winning shot as time expired.

Via Twitter:

Siakam finished the game with just 10 points but grabbed 12 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks.

Raptors are now just a half-game back of the Milwaukee Bucks with a record of 34-13.

Raptors promo Kawhi Leonard for ASG with faux-vintage action figure commercial

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The Toronto Raptors have been pushing Kawhi Leonard for the All-Star Game since 2018. The angle the team has decided to take is with Leonard being a “man of action” as opposed to a man of words.

Teams come up with some pretty good ideas about how to promote their star players for the All-Star Game. The Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum did the Vote for Pedro dance from “Napoleon Dynamite” to ask people to vote for buddy Damian Lillard.

The Raptors took a shot at a viral video of their own this week by releasing a fake 1990s-style action figure commercial for Leonard.

The result was pretty good:

At least with a Kawhi Leonard action figure you wouldn’t need to have a speaker and a button that plays catch phrases on it.

Reports: Mavericks, Dennis Smith Jr. could look to reconcile differences

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Things might not be over between Dennis Smith Jr. and the Dallas Mavericks.

The sophomore guard and the Mavericks have apparently been on the outs with each other as the season approaches the midway point. It was rumored that Smith was on the trading block, and that several teams were interested in his services.

But reports on Thursday surfaced saying Dallas and Smith could be heading for a reconciliation, and that conversations between the two sides have been positive as of late.

Via Twitter and ESPN:

The Mavs have shopped Smith, 21, throughout the season but haven’t received any offers that have tempted them to pull the trigger on trading a player whom the Dallas front office still believes has potential to develop into a star, sources said.

“Plan A is still to fix this,” a team source told ESPN.

Smith has not been that good this season, but his advanced numbers suggest that he is on a slow rise upward. It perhaps isn’t the jump Mavericks fans were looking for in the second season for a Top 10 pick, but if they can salvage their relationship it’s probably best for both sides at this juncture.