Stephen Curry

Sunday NBA grades: Stephen Curry is setting records

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Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while checking out the whisky chart…

source:  Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors. He is the first player in NBA history to make 250 threes in back-to-back seasons, which is impressive. Everything Curry did Sunday against Portland was impressive — he almost won the Warriors he just didn’t get enough help. Curry had 47 points on 29 shots overall, and with the game tight in the fourth quarter he had 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting with the game in the balance. On key late plays in regulation and overtime, Curry found open guys when the defense focused on him (Draymond Green hit his, Andre Iguodala missed his). Curry’s great offensive night covered up for Mark Jackson’s odd habit of putting his entire bench group in to end and start quarters, even with a boatload of evidence it doesn’t work. Curry looked like the dominant offensive player he is. It just wasn’t enough.

source:  David West, Indiana Pacers.The best way to lead is by example — David West has been frustrated like the rest of the Pacers but he let his game do the talking Sunday. West had 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting, he hit key free throws down the stretch, plus late in the fourth quarter he blocked a Kevin Durant shot. That’s a good day.

source:  Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers. This is the Lance Stephenson the Pacers need to see — 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. He played a complete game and it a key three late. He now has five triple doubles, most in the NBA this season.

source:  Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves. Kevin Love had 43 points and 11 rebounds, but the Timberwolves still lost a close game. Sound familiar? They are going to miss him when he’s gone.

source:  DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings. On the plus side, he dropped 35 points on 13-21 shooting, grabbed 15 rebounds, had 6 assists and 3 blocks. This was the active, aggressive Cousins that can change a game. However, that is also the emotional Cousins and he picked up a technical in the fourth quarter, his 16th of the season so expect him to be suspended for the Kings’ season finale on Wednesday (16 techs nets you an automatic suspension from the league).

source:   DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors. Dropped 30 points on 19 shots. Even against the Pistons defense that is impressive. DeRozan looked playoff ready and I wasn’t the only one that noticed.

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.