Jodie Drives Sixers to MEEKDONALDS in Wizards Blowout

Jodie Drives Sixers to MEEKDONALDS in Wizards Blowout

"Did you say what I thought you said? MEEKDonalds?" Indeed he did, Marc. Malik had no
choice but to get punny with Jodie's name as he shot the Sixers past
the 100-point mark against the Wizards, ensuring Big Macs for all in
attendance. Meeks' shot was absolutely brilliant tonight, reminding us
that he can look an awful lot like Ray Allen once he sees a couple of
his shots drop early. Jodie was an insane 10-11 from the field and 6-7
from downtown—raising his FG% from 39% to 46% and his three-point % from
34% to 42% on the season in the process—and scored 26 points, the most
since that game against the Bobcats two Decembers ago where he hit six
treys in the first quarter.

True, though, it's not all that hard to look brilliant against the
Wizards. A number of Sixers manage to do it on occasion tonight,
including Lou Williams (19 points and six assists, with just one
turnover), Spencer Hawes (a double-double in just 19 minutes, ten points
and ten rebounds in his first action in six quarters) and Andre
Iguodala (a typical all-around line, 13 points, five boards, three dimes
and two steals). Evan Turner even managed to hit a couple threes—his
first two of the year, somewhat incredibly—on the way to his 12 points,
five boards and four assists. Seven Sixers in all ended up in the double
figures, as the Liberty Ballers cruised to the 120-89 victory.

In stark contrast to the Sixers' strong, solid, mature play for most of
the evening, the Wizards were an absolute mess. They had some nice runs
in the second and fourth quarter to keep the game respectable—and yes,
for Washington, a 31 point loss to a good team on the road now qualifies
as "respectable"—but for the most part, they were disjointed, sloppy,
undisciplined and just kinda lazy. It's one thing to get beat by the
Sixers on the fast break—that'll happen to most teams—but it's quite
another to get beat to the basket in what should be a half-court set,
resulting in some unnervingly easy layups for Philly. Even John Wall,
the #1 overall pick in the draft two off-seasons ago (just before our
Evan Turner, of course), looks like he's completely lost confidence in
his jump shot, and with the Sixers doing a good job of creating traffic
for him in both the half-court and full court, he was miserable in this
game, scoring seven points on 3-8 shooting with five assists and just as
many turnovers.

The one bad thing about this game for the Sixers—aside from the fact
that it necessitated their fans to actually watch a Wizards game—was
that Lou Williams did something extremely dangerous, both for himself
and the team: He made two end-of-quarter shots. The second-quarter one
was actually a good one, as he did a good job drawing the foul on his
jumper and just happened to make the shot as well, but the third-quarter
heave was inexcusable, as he squared up from about four feet behind the
arc with plenty of time left on the shot clock for a ridiculous three.
He hit it, of course, and that was all well and good, but the two
unlikely makes ensure that The Sweetness will absolutely go for it again
in a terrible iso play for the next eight end-of-quarter situations he
finds himself in, and will be lucky to actually connect in two of them.

Next up: The Wizards again, this time in Washington, 7:00 tomorrow. Sound good? Sounds good.

NHL Playoffs: Penguins beat Senators in 2OT of Game 7 to reach Stanley Cup Final

NHL Playoffs: Penguins beat Senators in 2OT of Game 7 to reach Stanley Cup Final

BOX SCORE

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are heading back to the Stanley Cup Final.

Chris Kunitz beat Craig Anderson 5:09 into the second overtime to give the defending champions a 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final Thursday night.

Kunitz scored twice, his first two of the playoffs. Justin Schultz added the other in his return from an upper-body injury, and Matt Murray stopped 28 shots on his 23rd birthday.

The Penguins are trying to become the first team since the Detroit Red Wings in 1998 to win back-to-back titles. They will host Western Conference champion Nashville in Game 1 on Monday night.

Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel scored for Ottawa. The Senators rallied twice to tie it, with Dzingel making it 2-2 with 5:19 left in regulation.

Craig Anderson made 39 saves, but couldn't get a handle on Kunitz's shot from just outside the left circle. The Senators are 0-6 in Game 7s in franchise history.

The Senators forced a return trip to Pittsburgh -- where they lost 7-0 loss in Game 5 on Sunday -- by leaning heavily on Anderson in a 2-1 Game 6 victory, putting both teams at odds with history.

Ottawa came in 0-for-25 years in winner-take-all games, while the Penguins were 0-7 in Game 7s at home in series in which they also dropped Game 6.

Ottawa coach Guy Boucher told his resilient team to not get caught up in the big picture but instead focus on the small ones, a recipe that carried the Senators throughout a bumpy transition under their first-year head coach to the brink of the franchise's second Cup appearance.

The Penguins, trying to become the first defending champion to return to the finals since Detroit in 2009, came in confident they would advance if they could replicate their dominant Game 6, when they were undone only by Anderson's brilliance.

Pittsburgh has been nearly unflappable in the face of adversity under Mike Sullivan, going 12-2 in playoff games following a loss over the last two springs. He encouraged his team to "just play," code for fighting through Ottawa's neutral zone-clogging style and the bumping, grabbing and pulling that comes along with it.

A chance to play for their sport's ultimate prize on the line, the sheets of open ice the Penguins found so easily in Games 4-6 closed up. For most of the first 30 minutes, loose pucks hopped over sticks to spoil some scoring opportunities while Anderson and Murray gobbled up the rest.

Kunitz, relegated to the fourth line since returning from injury in the second round, picked up his first postseason goal in a calendar year when he completed a two-on-one with Conor Sheary -- a healthy scratch in Games 5 and 6 -- by slipping the puck by Anderson 9:55 into the second period.

The momentum lasted all of 20 seconds. Ottawa responded immediately with Stone -- who stretched his left skate to stay onside -- fired a wrist shot that handcuffed Murray.

Pittsburgh kept coming. Schultz, returning after missing four games with an upper-body injury, zipped a shot from the point through Kunitz's screen and into the net with 8:16 left in the third.

Once again, the Penguins could not hold the lead. Dzingel set up at the right post and banged home a rebound off Erik Karlsson's shot that hit the left post and caromed off Murray's back right to Dzingel's stick.

Notes
The home team is 21-20 in overtime Game 7s in NHL playoff history. ... Pittsburgh F Patric Hornqvist skated during warmups, but was held out of the lineup for a sixth straight game with an upper-body injury. ... Karlsson had 16 assists in the playoffs to set a team record. ... The Penguins are 10-7 in Game 7s. ... It was the fifth one-goal game of the series.

Howie Kendrick hit by pitch twice, removed from rehab start at Triple A

Howie Kendrick hit by pitch twice, removed from rehab start at Triple A

Howie Kendrick experienced a painful rehab start on Thursday night.

Rehabbing with Triple A Lehigh Valley, Kendrick was hit by a pitch twice before being removed after the sixth inning of the IronPigs' 8-4 loss to Indianapolis at Coca-Cola Park.

Both times Kendrick was plunked in the upper left arm, according to Tom Housenick of the Morning Call.

There was no update on if Kendrick was injured or taken out for precautionary reasons. Thursday marked Kendrick's second rehab start as he recovers from an oblique strain that has sidelined him since April 15.

The Phillies' leftfielder started at third base Thursday. At the beginning of his rehab assignment, Kendrick was expected to play four games and see time at third and first base, as well as in left field.

Kendrick made a throwing error at third on Thursday and finished 0 for 1 with a run scored. In his two games, he's 0 for 3 with two strikeouts.

Kendrick hit .333 with four doubles, a triple and five RBIs in 10 games with the Phillies prior to landing on the DL.

When he returns, he could see time at third base instead of left field if Maikel Franco continues to struggle (see story).