NBA Playoffs, Celtics Cavaliers Game 6: This is must win for the Celtics, too

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celtics.jpgBoston wants no part of a Game 7.

By the letter of the rules, Game 6 is only a must win for Cleveland. They lose, they go home. Boston loses and there is a Game 7 back in Cleveland.

Except home teams win 80 percent of game sevens — 84-21 in NBA history.

Those are bad odds for Celtics backers. Especially when Cleveland would suit up the best player on the planet, a guy capable of winning the game almost on his own.

Kevin Garnett gets it. Walking off the court after Game 5 he was stopped for a television interview and his first words were, “We cannot come back here.” To Cleveland. If they do, well, climbing Everest may be easier.

Right now the Celtics have all the momentum, they are coming onto their home court where the fans have been working on chants, their big stars have stepped up while people are questioning the Cavaliers will to win (although the Cavs themselves are not).

That’s a lot of things going for you. Lose game six and they will have none of them.

Game 7 will be on the Cavs terms. Cleveland will have the home court. The Cavs will also have LeBron James — and while you may think he folded in Game 5 because of the pressure, do you want to bet on a repeat performance?

Glen Davis does not, as he told WEEI.

“That’s the way we have to have it,” said Glen Davis following practice on Wednesday. “We got to look at it  – Game 7. This is the last game. We gotta finish it, gotta close it out. He [Garnett] is right. We have to make sure that we go into the game like it’s our last.”

Boston has won twice in this series in Cleveland, but a third win may be asking too much. LeBron is capable of just taking over any game, Shaq or Mo Williams could step up for a game and provide a second option. Boston can’t risk that happening in Game 7.

Tonight is must win for Boston, too.

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.