Joe Johnson hangs 29 on Sixers in third quarter, it's just another day

Joe Johnson hangs 29 on Sixers in third quarter, it's just another day

Sometimes, you feel so sad.

The Philadelphia 76ers' three-point defense has been historically woeful this season--tonight was their sixth game allowing an opposing team 15+ triples in a game, which is already an NBA record with a whole lotta games to go--but this was easily a new low. Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson--a good shooter no doubt, but probably past the point in his career where he should be going off on Stephen Curry-like streaks of long-range bombing--lit up the Sixers to the tune of ten treys tonight.

That's right. Ten three-pointers. If that sounds like a lot, it is--more than any player has hit in a single game this season, and just a couple off the all-time NBA record. Oh yeah, and he had eight of 'em in the third-quarter alone, part of a 29-point Q for Joe Cool that also ranks fifth all-time for an NBA player in a single game. History, f--- yeah.

The last of the ten, where James Anderson was practically hugging Johnson in the corner (and actually ended up fouling him, for a four-point play) was not the Sixers' fault. The other nine almost certainly were. The Sixers, and Evan Turner in particular, have done such a poor job defending the line this season that it's stopped qualifying as a consistent breakdown and started qualifying as just a really, really nonsensical defensive strategy.

Seriously, there's just no way that this isn't at least partly (subconsciously?) intentional at this point. If a team that was actually trying to defend the three-point line repeatedly did as bad a job as the Sixers have this season, it would become such a point of emphasis in practice and locker-room meetings and would result in benchings and beratings to the point where even if it came at the expense of the Sixers giving up wide-open layups, you can be damn sure they would not leave that goddamn arc unprotected. It's been that ridiculous.

But whatever. The Sixers lost by 36, and if it wasn't because of Joe Johnson's career night, it would have been for some other equally asinine and generally insulting reason. This is about as bad a basketball team as you're likely to find in the NBA right now, and they only seem to be getting worse. And mostly, that's OK--Michael Carter-Williams is still out with his infected knee anyway, and there's no guarantee that anyone else on the current active roster is gonna be on this team two months from now, so they may as well leave the Sixers with the parting gift of as many losses as possible to help with the Sixers' draft slot on their way out.

But man, this is pretty brutal to watch. The only fun part of tonight's game was that Sir Paul McCartney was in the audience, gawking with wide-eyed wonder at the shooting display like a kid watching Star Wars for the first time, and that was pretty cool. Sir Paul's gonna go back to Liverpool thinking that Joe Johnson is the greatest thing since Petula Clark, which is hilarious.

Oh well. Hopefully MCW gets back soon, and the team's losing at least gets a little more watchable. In the meantime, I think Kentucky is on TV again sometime later this week.

Sixers-Warriors 5 things: At home, can Sixers hang with NBA's best again?

Sixers-Warriors 5 things: At home, can Sixers hang with NBA's best again?

The Sixers (22-36) host the NBA-best Golden State Warriors (49-9) at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m./CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports app).

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Bummer at the buzzer
Apparently one good last-second shot deserves another.

The Sixers stormed back from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks on Saturday. Jahlil Okafor capped off his monster night with what appeared to be the game-winner at the time when he scored in the lane with nine seconds remaining.

That was until Carmelo Anthony drained a clutch jumper over Robert Covington with 0.3 ticks left on the clock to give the Knicks a 110-109 victory. Call it payback for T.J. McConnell's buzzer-beater against New York last month.

While the Sixers didn't get the win, they had to be pleased with some of the efforts they received on the second night of a back-to-back set. 

Okafor finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Covington had 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Dario Saric added 19 points and 15 boards.

2. So much splashing
The Sixers will need those type of performances and then some if they hope to keep up with this potent Warriors team.

In case you've been lost at sea since the summer, former league MVP Kevin Durant bolted Oklahoma City for Golden State in free agency to turn the "Splash Brothers" of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson into an entire splash family.

Already dominant offensively, the Warriors have been even better this season with Durant. They rank No. 1 in a slew of offensive categories, including points per game (118.2), field goal percentage (50.0), assists per game (31.0), fastbreak points per game (23.5), offensive rating (114.1) and true shooting percentage (60.4).

If that weren't enough, Durant's length has also impacted the Warriors' defense too. They are first in the league in steals (9.6), blocks (6.7) and points off turnovers (19.2) per game.

Simply put, the Warriors are scary good. 

3. The wild card
Every family has that one person that you're just not sure about at times. They can make gatherings the best night ever or a downright miserable experience.

Enter Draymond Green. 

Green has been on the miserable side of the Warriors' gatherings lately. He shot 1 of 10 for five points and was benched for long stretches in Golden State's win over Brooklyn on Saturday. In the game prior to that against the L.A. Clippers, he picked up a technical foul, trash talked Paul Pierce and went to his preferred kick move on Blake Griffin.

Overall, Green has been his usual solid self on the court. He's averaging 10.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists a night while providing lockdown defense.

The Sixers are fully aware of Green's versatility. The veteran forward averaged a triple-double against them in the two meetings last season with 11.5 points, 12.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists.

It will be interesting to see Green lock horns all game with the surging Saric.

4. Injuries
Joel Embiid (knee), Tiago Splitter (calf), Ben Simmons (foot) Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are out for the Sixers.

The Warriors have no players listed on the injury report.

5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost six straight games to the Warriors.

• With their 112-95 win over the Nets on Saturday, the Warriors became the first team to clinch a playoff berth. It marked the earliest a team has clinched a postseason spot since the 1985-86 Boston Celtics.

• Covington is averaging 17.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in February.

• Thompson averaged 36.0 points on 54.7 percent shooting from the field and 45.8 percent from three-point range against the Sixers last season.

Brandon Manning suspended 2 games for hit on Penguins' Jake Guentzel

Brandon Manning suspended 2 games for hit on Penguins' Jake Guentzel

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning was suspended two games for his illegal hit to Pittsburgh's Jake Guentzel during Saturday's 4-2 loss in the Stadium Series game at Heinz Field.
 
Manning's shoulder made contact with Guentzel's head.
 
Manning wasn't surprised and even admitted to reporters that he fully expected "one or two" games because he hit a player who didn't have control of the puck yet.
 
Strangely, there was no penalty on the play for interference, yet the NHL's explanation on Monday afternoon specifically cited "interference" as the reason for the suspension.
 
This is Manning's first NHL suspension.
 
The hearing was conducted on the phone Monday with Stephane Quintal, senior vice-president of NHL Player Safety. Manning will forfeit $10,833.34 in salary.
 
"It was late," Manning said of the hit. "He didn't touch the puck after it hit his skate. Which I thought he was going to do. They do their whole breakdown by time frame."
 
Manning said he caught Guentzel's shoulder first, then his head "on the follow through" because Guentzel is shorter than him.  The 6-foot-1 Manning has two inches on Guentzel.
 
Guentzel, who had two assists in the game, was not injured.
 
"Looking at it, [the hit] is a little late," Manning admitted. "I thought he was going to touch the puck. Usually, when a puck hits your skate, you pick it up, and he kinda left it ... The hard part is, there was no penalty called on it."
 
Manning said he had to make a hit or face an odd-man rush.
 
"There were two players there and if I don't play my guy there, it’s a 3-on-1 the other way," he said. "You're giving up scoring chances. Fortunately, he wasn't hurt. He finished the game and that's always the good thing."
 
Mark Streit, sitting on the bench at the time, said he saw the hit and was shocked at the suspension.
 
"It was a great hit," Streit said. "You look at the replay and everything looks different. You can slow down every hit and talk about it. I guess it was a little late …"
 
Manning's suspension likely means Michael Del Zotto will play against Colorado on Tuesday.
 
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said Manning has been a "solid piece" for the club this season.
 
"He brings that physical edge, he's been reliable, and he's been a staple for our lineup," Hakstol said. "That's a hole we'll have to fill over next couple of games here."
 
Manning will also miss Thursday's game against Florida.