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NBA Roundup: Lin doesn't start for Rockets, Iverson retires

The SportsXchange

Jeremy Lin was not in the starting lineup when the Houston Rockets took the floor for their season opener Wednesday against the Charlotte Bobcats.

Patrick Beverley, starting his second season in the NBA, was slated to be the point guard in a lineup that includes Dwight Howard, James Harden, Omer Asik and Chandler Parsons.

Coach Kevin McHale refused to announce his starters, saying earlier that the Rockets had two starting point guards. But Parsons let the cat out of the bag.

"Did (McHale) not tell you guys who is starting? I don't know why it is a big surprise," Parsons said, according to the Houston Chronicle. "It is the same as how preseason ended."

The 25-year-old Beverley joined the Rockets last season and made a good impression, particularly during the playoffs when he averaged 11.8 points, 2.8 assists and 5.5 rebounds.

---From where Magic Johnson sits, the Los Angeles Lakers are in for a long season.

The former Lakers great, who now is a part owner of the Dodgers, says the team's fans are spoiled.

"I don't know how they're going to react now because this is going to be a tough season," Johnson said Tuesday in a radio interview on ESPNLA 710. "This is going to be one of the roughest seasons that the Lakers have ever faced.

"You're waiting on Kobe (Bryant) to see if he can get healthy. Nobody knows if he can be what he was. Then you've got (Pau) Gasol -- who I think is a premier big man -- but he plays better when he has talent around him.

"You've got guys who are all on one-year contracts, and all were journeymen on other teams. Laker fans are not used to that. I don't know if they're going to buy into that. We're going to see. If you want the Laker fans to really buy in and be involved, you're going to have to win right away. I don't see that happening."

---The Denver Nuggets exercised contract options on forward Kenneth Faried and guard Evan Fournier, the team announced.

Faried averaged a career-high 11.5 points and 9.2 rebounds in 80 games last season. He was ninth in the NBA in field goal percentage at .552.

A first-team NBA All-Rookie selection in 2012, Faried has career averages of 11.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.

Fournier was a rookie last season who averaged 5.3 points and 1.2 assists in 38 games. Late in the season, he scored a career-high 24 points against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The 21-year-old Forunier played in France's top professional league as a teenager before he was drafted by the Nuggets.

---The Oklahoma City Thunder could be getting Russell Westbrook back soon.

Yahoo! Sports reported that the point guard is progressing in his recovery from knee surgery and could be back on the court within two weeks.

Westbrook, 24, underwent a second procedure on his right knee early this month. At the time, it was estimated his recovery would be 4-6 weeks. But he could be ahead of schedule. The Yahoo report indicated that teammates were impressed with Westbrook in recent practices.

The knee injury - a slight meniscus tear - occurred in Game 2 of the Thunder's first round playoff series with the Houston Rockets last spring. Without Westbrook, the Thunder's hopes of trying to unseat the Miami Heat as NBA champion evaporated.

In 82 regular-season games last season before the injury, the sixth-year pro averaged 23.2 points and 7.4 assists.

---Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes will miss the first two games of the regular season because of a foot injury, coach Mark Jackson said.

The foot issue kept Barnes from playing for most of the preseason. He has been shut down for nearly three weeks because of lingering inflammation.

Barnes played in 81 of 82 regular-season games as a rookie last season, averaging 9.2 points and 4.1 rebounds.

Once Barnes returns, the Warriors are planning to use him off the bench. Andre Iguodala joined the Warriors as an offseason acquisition.

---Calling it a "happy day" and the end of a "great ride," former Philadelphia 76ers great Allen Iverson formally announced his retirement during a news conference in the Sixers' home arena, over three years after he played his final NBA game.

The 38-year-old Iverson, an 11-time All-Star, four-time NBA scoring champion and three-time All-NBA first-teamer, spent parts of 12 seasons with the Sixers, and played 14 years in total. He was the league MVP in 2001, leading Philadelphia to its most recent appearance in the Finals.

Iverson, who also spent time with Detroit, Denver and Memphis, scored 24,368 points in his career, 19th-most all-time, and averaged 26.7 points a game. Listed at 6 feet tall, he is widely considered to be one of the greatest little men to ever play the game, along with Hall of Famers Isiah Thomas and Nate "Tiny" Archibald.

Iverson played his last game on Feb. 20, 2010, for the Sixers against the Chicago Bulls. He briefly played professionally in Turkey since ending his NBA career, but has otherwise been idle.

Known for his daring all-out style on the court, he has also become something of a cultural icon because of his tattoos, the cornrows in his hair, jewelry and baggy clothing.

Sixers co-owner David Blitzer noted a recent comment about Iverson by Miami Heat star LeBron James.

"Pound for pound," Blitzer said, "this was the best basketball player that ever played."
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