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Liberty Links: Gregg Popovich is looking out for Brett Brown

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Thank you, Pop.

San Antonio Spurs v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers did the Philadelphia 76ers a big favor on Wednesday night.

They went into San Antonio and knocked off the Spurs 102-95. David Nwaba and Tyler Ennis combined for 29 points. But the real catalyst that propelled the Lakers to a victory might’ve been Gregg Popovich deciding to limit the minutes of his stars. Kawhi Leonard played just 14 minutes, LaMarcus Aldridge logged just 16, and Pau Gasol played 18. The Warriors defeat of the Suns means Phoenix is now 1.5 games up on the Lakers for the second best lottery odds.

Thanks, Pop!

Here’s what happened on Wednesday:

Read Silver Screen & Roll’s recap of their loss to see some of the peril in the comments

Former Sixers VP of Basketball Strategy starts website

Some of you may remember Ben Falk, the wunderkind right hand man to Sam Hinkie. Most of you may not, as he was in the public eye even less than Hinkie was. Falk was let go by the Sixers at the beginning of the season, and has now turned his attention to writing about basketball at his website, Cleaning The Glass. One of his first articles is an in-depth look at the Milwaukee Bucks and their defense. Its an excellent read.

Jerry Colangelo provides Joel Embiid surgery update

Jerry Colangelo made an appearance on SiriusXM Radio on Wednesday, and indicated that Joel Embiid’s surgery was not as serious as initially thought. Of course, any medical info from someone involved with the Sixers is no longer worthy of blind trust, but we’ll hope that it’s actually true.

The Cavaliers are back

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been known to coast through regular seasons, and their occasional midseason woes tend to send people into hysteria. To be fair, the Cavs struggles lasted a little longer (and much later) into the season as usual, but people seem to forget that LeBron James turns it on when it matters. In a battle for Eastern Conference supremacy, Cleveland buried the Boston Celtics. Tim Cato details what was working for the King and his men.

NBA watching The Basketball Tournament's innovative approach to crunch time

Zach Lowe wrote an in-depth article about a new rule The Basketball Tournament is adopting. At the first dead ball after 4:00 mark, the game clock shuts off, a target score is determined by adding 7 points to the leading team’s score, and the first team to reach that score wins. You can read more about the new rule, its creator, and the NBA’s interest all in Lowe’s article.

Oscar Robertson’s Triple-Doubles Look Nothing Like Russell Westbrook’s

From The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman:

I assumed Robertson’s triple-double season was the type of thing that could never be done again. Robertson could put together those stat lines because he was one of the first humans to approach what we now consider basic basketball competence. But nowadays everybody is a speedy giant with a jumper. Westbrook shouldn’t be able to achieve the same level of greatness, and yet he’s doing it.

James Dolan is doing James Dolan things again

The Knicks owner got into a spat with a Knicks fan outside of Madison Square Garden, accused the fan of being a drunk (sound familiar?), and then had his security team trail the man around the arena. I hope their PR team gets overtime pay.

Speaking of Russell

Westbrook finished one rebound shy of a triple-double, but I think he’ll take a victory over that record any day. The Thunder won by three.

Lance Stephenson continues to be great

Come back for tonight’s Sixers-Bulls game, will you?