Portland Trail Blazers v Charlotte Bobcats

Marcus Camby admits the players believe in a ‘Blazers Curse’

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The Blazers have an… unfortunate history, when it comes to injuries. (That’s like saying the Titanic had an unfortunate problem with icebergs.) It’s not just Sam Bowie or Greg Oden. It’s Brandon Roy and even rookies and second-year men who have fallen. Have any sort of negative pattern and the word “curse” starts popping up in sports. We’re a superstitious group, like the people in “The Wicker Man” or gamblers. But surely the players don’t buy into that stuff, right? Well-reasoned, stable people that they are?

Marcus Camby, traded at the deadline to Houston, was asked about the idea of the “Blazers Curse” and his answer was surprisingly honest. From ESPN’s Marc Stein:

Q: You know those of us in the media throw around words like “curse.” But what about the players on that team? In the Blazers’ locker room, are guys asking: What next?

A: They might not want to admit it, but when I was there, my goodness, people were saying, “Are we really snake-bit? Are we really cursed?” Doubts and talks like that came about. Everybody just tried to brush it to one side and remain positive, but it was hard to escape because everybody was talking about it. It’s hard to argue when it keeps happening year after year after year.

via Weekend Dime — Season-ending awards – ESPN.

Portland should have absolutely no problems signing free agents with that kind of press.

Maybe they should perform an exorcism. Or, you know, they could outsource their medical staff for a year.

That’s who I actually feel the worst for in this situation. There’s no indication that how the training staff treated the players had any impact on their injuries. But when you have that many, there are going to be questions. It’s like if you ran a McDonalds and it kept getting hit by a meteor, then re-opening, then wiped away in a flood, then re-opening, then getting hit by a tornado. At some point, people are going to look sideways at the manager even if he didn’t do anything.

 

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)
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.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson floors Malcolm Brogdon with crossover (video)

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To be fair, Malcolm Brogdon was already off-balance before Rondae Hollis-Jefferson began his crossover.

To be real, DID YOU SEE BROGDON FALL OVER?