Boston Celtics v Indiana Pacers

Pacers make it official: Andrew Bynum out “indefinitely” with knee swelling

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When the Pacers went out and got Andrew Bynum — paying him $1 million after the Cleveland Cavaliers traded him and the Bulls cut him — it was always a long shot. They already had Ian Mahinmi as a backup center behind Roy Hibbert. If Bynum worked out and was an upgrade, great. If not, well at least the Heat couldn’t throw him at them in the playoffs.

It looks more and more like it will be the latter outcome.

Indiana made official Friday that Bynum will be out indefinitely with “soreness and swelling in his right knee.” This echoes what Pacers coach Frank Vogel told our own Brett Pollakoff a few days ago.

“He played in the Detroit game (20 minutes), aggravated a previous condition and had some swelling in there,” Vogel said. “He’s going to be out for a little while.”

It took two games, 20 minutes in the second one, to have this setback (Bynum did have 15 points and 9 boards in that second game). Not a good sign.

Indefinitely is vague, so it is possible Bynum returns for the postseason, but if you are familiar with Bynum and his recovery timeline the odds of him being back in a month when the playoffs begin are not good. The idea of him contributing in the playoffs, at least anything of significance, is also limited at best.

The Pacers have bigger issues right now, having lost their momentum and having gone 5-5 in their last 10 (with the wins coming against the weaker sisters of the Eastern Conference, the Pacers didn’t look impressive in those games). The biggest problem is their defense has slipped from its elite levels in that time, plus there is frustration about getting good shots in the offense (we’re looking at you, Lance Stephenson). Nothing that can’t be worked out, but the Pacers haven’t been quite the same since not long after the All-Star break and they need to find that groove again soon.

Andrew Bynum will not help them with that.

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?