Give and Go: The Joe Johnson explosion

Give and Go: The Joe Johnson explosion

Highlights: Joe Johnson goes off in third quarter

December 21, 2013, 10:00 am
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Joe Johnson scored a season-high 37 points, including 29 in the third quarter, against the Sixers this past Monday. (USA Today Images)

Each week, we'll ask questions about the Sixers to our resident basketball analysts and see what they have to say.

Running the Give and Go this week are CSNPhilly.com Sixers Insider Dei Lynam, CSNPhilly.com reporter John Finger and CSNPhilly.com columnist John Gonzalez.

The Sixers' defense against on Joe Johnson this past Monday was ...?

Lynam
The Sixers' defense on Johnson was simply non-existent this past Monday. Johnson is averaging 16.5 points this season, while shooting 44.6 percent from the field and 42.9 from behind the arc.

Against the Sixers, Johnson scored more than double his normal average with a season-high 37 points and shot 71.4 percent from long range.

That just can't happen.

Finger
Defense? On Johnson? Can't say that I saw much defense on Johnson this past Monday. In fact, Johnson's quote after the game was pretty telling.

“I had a lot of wide-open shots and it was like when I was coming off pick-and-rolls, guys weren’t even guarding me, so I made a couple of tough shots, but for the most part I was [wide open]," Johnson said.

NBA players are pretty diplomatic and I don't think Johnson was calling anyone out. So for him to say he wasn't being guarded by anyone is something.

Gonzalez
Suspect. Then semi-hilarious. Then sad.

The Sixers allow their opponents to make 10.7 three-pointers per game. That's by far the most in the NBA. They're not good at defending the three. (You may have heard.) Part of Joe Johnson's success that evening was owed to the Sixers' typically terrible perimeter defense. But part of it was an inexplicable will or ability to adjust. After the sixth or seventh (or eighth or ninth or 10th) time Johnson positioned himself behind the arc, they might have thought to themselves, "Hey, we should probably run someone at him."

They didn't -- or couldn't.

I'm OK with them playing at pace. I'm OK with them getting stomped most nights this season in service of the greater good. I'm OK with them taking and allowing a lot of threes. I'm less OK with them failing to fight back in certain situations.