NBA Playoffs: Kevin Garnett says "Q was… talking nonsense"

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As we told you in the recap, Kevin Garnett wound up in an altercation with Quentin Richardson near the Heat bench near the end of the 4th quarter of the Celtics’ Game One win over the Heat.

Garnett seemed to start the altercation by elbowing Richardson out of the way as he approached Paul Pierce who was on the ground with a shoulder injury. Richardson took offense and the two started jawing at each other.

(Check out all the details in our recap about Heat-Celtics Game One and the Kevin Garnett possible suspension.)

What we didn’t know at the time was if Quentin Richardson ignited the scrum with whatever it was he said as he approached Pierce. Now we have KG’s side.

In his post-game presser, Garnett was asked about the incident. Here’s what the All-Star power forward had to say:

“I just thought Q was standing over him, you know, talking nonsense, and I
just asked him to give him some room. And before you know it, just
mayhem started, you know? With that situation, man, I know these two have
competed against each other in the past and they have history for
bumping heads a little bit. But I’m a vet, I gotta use my head, but only
thing I saw was Paul hurt and that’s the only thing I cared about at
that time.”

Garnett’s right, he’s got to use his head. And while Garnett immediately exited the scrum after throwing the elbow, he still threw the elbow. There’s going to be questions also about exactly what Richardson’s role in the incident was, as well as Udonis Haslem, as well as any of the Heat players that got up from their seats but didn’t “leave the bench area.” But KG will still be at the center of discussions.

Now, it’s not like it was the punch, and there weren’t any nasty ramifications, so KG may get off with a warning. At the same time, the league has been known to crack down pretty hard in the playoffs when attention is raised on the league. If you can get suspended for getting off a bench, you can get suspended for throwing an elbow and causing a stir.

Expect things to only get more physical and bloody as the series gone on. To say there’s no love lost is to overstate the environment in which love can survive.

Get ready for late ’90’s flashbacks.

Report: Age minimum still on table in Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 23:  The full draft board of the first 30 pics of the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft is seen at the Barclays Center on June 23, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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A new Collective Bargaining Agreement is expected to be finished soon, but with months until the current deal expires, both the owners and players can afford to take their time and get the details right.

Both sides reportedly agreed to keep the age minimum – which requires players to be 19 and one year removed from their high school class’ graduation – in place.

Or not?

David Aldridge of NBA.com:

Other issues, like the age limit for players entering the league, are still on the table. The league has long sought to increase the age limit from its current 19, and at least one year removed from one’s high school class, to at least 20 years of age. The union has talked about a “zero and two” setup, similar to that used by baseball — players can enter the Draft out of high school, but if they choose to go to college, they have to stay in college at least two years (in baseball, it’s three years) before declaring for the Draft.

The union wants to lower the age minimum. Adam Silver wants to raise it.

Most likely, the current one-and-done rule remains in place.

But a zero-or-two setup could be an interesting compromise. That would allow players certain they’re ready for the pros out of high school to declare for the NBA draft. In all other cases, Silver would get his wish.

Again, the status quo likely remains in tact. But it’s good both sides are discussing the issue to see whether there’s a better solution.

76ers increase Joel Embiid’s minute limit to 28

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, left, tries to get around Cleveland Cavaliers' DeAndre Liggins, center, and Kevin Love during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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Take comfort, chairs and staffers.

The 76ers have raised Joel Embiid‘s minute limit from 24 to 28.

Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly:

This was never a hard limit. Embiid played more than 24 minutes in five of his 12 games with a high of 27 in an overtime contest. Presumably, the new “limit” will also allow for Embiid to sometimes it.

Embiid’s numbers per 36 minutes are eye-popping: 28.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 3.8 blocks and 6.4 turnovers. A small workload likely factors into his per-minute dominance, and he’s still a long way from typical starter minutes. But I’m interested to see how his production translates over a larger sample.

The 76ers, in their mission to be less bad this season, will also appreciate a few more minutes of Embiid. They defend like the NBA’s second-best defense with him on the floor and the league’s second-worst defense without him. They also score a little better with him. Overall, they get outscored by just 2.2 points per 100 possessions with him and a whopping 14.2 points per 100 possessions without him.

This could give Philadelphia a couple extra wins over the rest of the season. At minimum, it’ll make the 76ers more enjoyable to watch for a few more minutes each game.

James Johnson dunks on Rudy Gobert in crunch time (video)

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Opponents shoot just 41.8% at the rim with Rudy Gobert defending it – which is now second to Hassan Whiteside among the 50 players who defend the most shots at the rim per game.

But James Johnson went up with no fear, scoring two of his 24 points in the Heat’s 111-110 win over the Jazz last night.

Nicolas Batum bounces assist through Dwight Powell’s legs (video)

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The Hornets didn’t just beat the Mavericks, 97-87, last night.

Nicolas Batum got Charlotte style points with this pass through Dwight Powell‘s legs, assisting Cody Zeller.