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NBA notebook

LeBron James dismisses Trump’s rant

Much to President Trump's chagrin, LeBron James joins his Lakers teammates in kneeling during the national anthem prior to Wednesday night's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Much to President Trump's chagrin, LeBron James joins his Lakers teammates in kneeling during the national anthem prior to Wednesday night's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.Kevin C. Cox/Getty

LeBron James dismissed comments made Wednesday by President Donald Trump, who criticized NBA players for kneeling during the national anthem as part of coordinated Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

The Los Angeles Lakers superstar, who has knelt during the national anthem throughout the NBA’s resumed season at Disney World, said he was unconcerned by Trump’s statement that the demonstrations were “disgraceful” and that he “[turns] off the game” whenever they take place.

“I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership,” James said. “The game will go on without his eyes on it. I can sit here and speak for all of us that love the game of basketball, we could [not] care less.”

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More than 300 NBA players - with only a few exceptions - have locked arms and knelt before each game inside the bubble at Disney World, an act first popularized by NFL star Colin Kaepernick in 2016. They have been joined by coaches and even referees, with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver opting not to uphold a long-standing league rule that requires players to stand during the anthem.

Bogdan Bogdanovic goes off

Bogdan Bogdanovic scored a career-high 35 points to help the Sacramento Kings beat the New Orleans Pelicans 140-125 on Thursday in the NBA’s bubble at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Bogdan Bogdanovic drives against New Orleans' Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick during the second half of Thursday's action.
Bogdan Bogdanovic drives against New Orleans' Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick during the second half of Thursday's action.Ashley Landis/Associated Press

De’Aaron Fox had 30 points and 10 assists and Harrison Barnes added 22 points for the Kings, who converted 54 percent of their shots to get their first win in four tries since the restart.

Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram each scored 24 points for the Pelicans. Williamson made his first eight shots and ended up making 10 of 12 overall in just under 22 minutes.

JJ Redick scored 18 points and Jrue Holiday added 17 for the Pelicans, who shot 57 percent and fell to 1-3 in the restart.

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Both teams are chasing a spot in the Western Conference playoffs. The Kings pulled even with the Pelicans in the standings and now are 2 1/2 games behind eighth-place Memphis with four games remaining. A team needs to be in ninth place and within four games of the eighth-place team to force a playoff.

76ers: Simmons ‘being evaluated'

Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons is seeking treatment options on his injured left knee, and the 76ers are unsure the extent of the issue or how many games the All-Star could miss.

Simmons left Philadelphia’s game against Washington on Wednesday midway through the third quarter because of injury, officially diagnosed as a subluxation of the left patella, or knee cap. A subluxation is a partial and temporary dislocation.

It’s not uncommon for such injuries to require a recovery time of several weeks, though the 76ers have yet to announce a timeline.

What does the rest of the season hold for Ben Simmons?
What does the rest of the season hold for Ben Simmons?Ashley Landis/Associated Press

“Stuff is still being evaluated,” said 76ers coach Brett Brown. Simmons won’t play Friday against Orlando, but Brown said he’s still waiting to learn more.

Losing Simmons would be the latest big blow for a franchise that has endured many of them in recent years on the injury front. The 76ers went 47-199 in Brown’s first three seasons — the start of the infamous “Trust The Process” era — then improved to 28-54 in 2016-17 and have become one of the Eastern Conference’s top clubs in the three seasons since.