Amir Johnson; Mirza Teletovic; Alan Anderson

Terrence Ross says Kevin Garnett NBA’s best pick-setter ‘because he sets illegal screens but he never gets caught,’ wants Nets in playoffs

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I didn’t want Toronto to trade Kyle Lowry at the trade deadline, because I think the Raptors are one of the most fun teams in the NBA. They’re young and hungry, and they have a solid shot of winning just the second playoff series in franchise history. Even if Lowry’s impending free agency forces tough decisions this summer, this season’s run justifies itself. It wasn’t the time to break up such an enjoyable group.

A key figure on this fun roster: Terrence Ross.

Ross is quickly becoming one of my favorite players in the league, and participating in a reddit AMA only endears him further – especially these fearless answers.

Question:

Who do you think is best at setting picks in the NBA, and why is it Amir Johnson?

Ross:

best at setting picks is kevin garnett because he sets illegal screens but he never gets caught. he’ll literally hold you and you can’t get around him.

Question:

Also, who do you want as a first round matchup in the playoffs?

Ross:

i want brooklyn personally.

The Raptors are currently third in the East, but just a half game ahead of the Bulls. The Nets are fifth, ahead of the sixth-place Wizards by about a tenth of a percent. There a lot of ways the standings could fall into a Toronto-Brooklyn matchup, and I’m rooting for any of them.

Most players won’t be so open about their desired opponent, saying they’ll be glad to to face any challenge in the playoffs. But Ross, and these Raptors, march to their own drum. That’s what makes them so enjoyable.

In the AMA, Ross also praises Lowry – the most-deserving player not selected to the All-Star game – in ways opposing coaches who vote for reserves should have recognized.

Question:

Who talks on D? Who is the most vocal and who calls out the opposing team’s plays?

Ross:

kyle lowry. always. before every play i ask him, ‘yo what they running?’.

usually the team come down the court, lowry will recognize the play and call out what they’re doing.

Question:

Who’s the one teammate on the Raptors you look up to for leadership?

Ross:

kyle lowry because he’s the smartest guy on the team. he makes the biggest impact on the games.

In perhaps the gem of the chat, Ross called Tyler Hansbrough ‘psycho t,’ which led to this question:

i thought he hated being called psycho t?

Ross:

maybe, but i still call him that! his other nickname is chops. he calls himself chops, but we don’t. he’s crazy, so we still call him psycho t.

Kurt and I don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on nicknames. When Kevin Durant disproved of his “Slim Reaper” nickname, Kurt argued that made it a better nickname. “You’re not supposed to like your nickname,” he said. I, on the other hand, believe someone should some have some limited right of refusal on his nickname.

But we, and I presume everyone else in the entire world besides Koko Costanza, definitely agree someone can’t choose his own nickname.

Chops? Get the heck out of here with that. Psycho T it is.

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?