MATCHDAY: It's a Beautiful Day to Play Hooky - Your Phillies/Union Twinbill Itinerary

MATCHDAY: It's a Beautiful Day to Play Hooky - Your Phillies/Union Twinbill Itinerary

So the weather today is just about the most perfect thing ever, amirite?

If you're already at work, start coughing now. Or just "grab a coffee" and get the hell out of there. If you're not at work yet, DON'T DO IT!

For the first time in a while, you can walk up to Citizens Bank Park and get a cheap ticket for a Phillies game (1:05 p.m. -- Comcast SportsNet). It's Businessperson's Special day, and Domonic Brown is likely to hit 14 home runs. John Mayberry promised to hit a grand slam.

Plus, Bob Davidson will be there, and everyone wants to see him.

A little farther south, the Union host Columbus tonight (7:30 -- CSN) for their last league game before an 18-day break. And judging by the email I just got this morning, there are still tickets available.

I used to argue that there is no better place on a nice day than Citizens Bank Park. Then came PPL Park, which, on a night like this, might be as picturesque as any sports venue in America.

So, head down to CBP, preferably via public transit (for the beer, clearly). Take in the game, watch Cole Hamels dominate with incredible run support, have a few brews and maybe some Bull's BBQ for lunch.

Once the Phillies win, hop the Broad Street Line back to City Hall, wander to Market East, and catch a Wilmington-bound Regional Rail (express train at 5:04 p.m.). Get off at Chester (trust me, it's safe), and find the free Union shuttle at the station (a big coach bus).

If you drove to CBP, it's an easy ride down 95 South.

Find me in Lot A and I'll happily give you a beer. Look for a 18-month-old in a Union jersey.

Plus, once there you can say inappropriate things on the stadium scoreboard:

Just do it, you know you want to. Seriously, look our your office window. Why are you still sitting there?

* * *

TONIGHT'S GAME

Philadelphia Union (5-5-4, 19 points) vs. Columbus Crew (4-4-5, 17 points)

I couldn't watch Saturday's 1-1 draw with Toronto live, but caught most of the re-air. I'd like 89 minutes of my life back, please.

The Union looked completely lifeless against a terrible team especially considering they were up a man for most of the day. Only Jack McInerney (yawn) was able to save a point, once again.

There's some who argue the team was gassed after a game in Montreal, a mid-week date with Ocean City in the U.S. Open Cup with a nearly full-strength starting 11, and a trip back to Toronto. I don't disagree. But as someone who appreciates full dedication to the Open Cup (as opposed to the Galaxy, whose coach didn't even travel to a road game) for a team that won't be winning the league title this year, I refuse to get on John Hackworth for that decision.

Other than McInerney, I'm done trying to predict the effort/mindset of this team on a game-to-game basis. But while tonight's game might not have the glamour of the Galaxy or Red Bulls, it could not be more important for the Union. Columbus is a team you MUST beat at home. Settle for a draw, or somehow lose tonight, and watch the Crew vault ahead of you in the Eastern Conference, and watch full-fledged panic set in.

Prediction Sure to Be Way Off:

For some reason, I envision a  solid Union effort tonight. McInerney scores again, and Sebastien Le Toux finds the net, as well. Zac MacMath still gives up one that he should save, though.

Union 3, Crew 1

Sixers draw high praise from Warriors after loss to NBA leader

Sixers draw high praise from Warriors after loss to NBA leader

BOX SCORE

The Warriors are the blueprint of a total team in the NBA. They have a star-studded starting lineup and a top sixth man with the positional versatility that creates hard-to-combat matchups.

Yet, as the Warriors notched their 50th win of the season, 119-108, in a collaborative effort against the Sixers, they gave credit to the potential they see in their opponent, even when Brett Brown didn't have his key pieces on the court Monday (see Instant Replay).

"They play hard," Stephen Curry said. "They have some talent to work around. Hopefully they have some consistency with their roster going forward and getting guys healthy. One thing about them, you've got to compliment their energy and effort and fight every night they play."

Facing the Warriors with a full squad is challenging enough. The Sixers did it shorthanded without Joel Embiid, who is out indefinitely with a left knee contusion (see story). They also are less than a week removed from trading starting power forward Ersan Ilyasova and the defensive-minded Nerlens Noel.

"You've got to give this team a lot of credit," Draymond Green said. "They're going to be really, really, really good. I mean, they're missing Embiid and Ben Simmons and they're really on their way."

With 10 available players, including Justin Anderson, who has had just one shootaround to actually get a run in with the team, the Sixers fought until the final buzzer sounded. Dario Saric led the Sixers with 21 points and seven assists, while also collecting seven rebounds. Gerald Henderson scored 16 and both Robert Covington and Richaun Holmes added 15 (see feature highlight). Covington also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.

"They play the right way," Klay Thompson said. "They made it tough on us tonight. I'm excited to see their team when Embiid and Simmons are healthy. It should be a scary frontcourt, and with Saric. They're heading in the right direction. They'll only get better this June because they have some high picks. It's a bright future in Philly."

The Sixers held the Warriors to 6 for 29 three-point shooting (20.7 percent), including an 0-for-11 outing by Curry. This was the third time this season and only the 37th time in his career Curry missed all of his three-point attempts.

"I think he had an off night," Brown said. "I think at times we got lucky with them as a team. They didn't shoot it the way the team normally would shoot it. Some of it is I give our guys credit."

Curry took his uncharacteristic performance, which included a pair of air-balls, in stride.

"The weatherman said it was a low-pressure system that was coming and I forgot to adjust," Curry said. "One thing, [I] don't ever get down on myself. Obviously that's why I got 11 of them up and not make one. You still have confidence the next one's going in."

Still, the Warriors turned to team basketball to pull away with the win. While they struggled from long range, they found other ways to run up the scoreboard, including shooting 33 for 39 at the free throw line.

Kevin Durant led all players with 27 points to go with eight rebounds. Green recorded a 14-point, 11-assist double-double and six boards. Thompson scored 21 points and Zaza Pachulia added 16. And at the end of the night, Curry still finished with 19 points in spite of his three-point woes.

"We've been doing this for a while together now and just try to find ways to get it done," Green said. "Obviously you've got to do a lot more on the defensive end to get stops, and try to create more offense. I think it was a good effort from everybody tonight to chip in."

Added Curry: "For us to still have the moxie to withstand that and still pretty much have the lead the whole game and allow our defense to get us a win tonight was kind of our M.O."

The Warriors are a perennial title contender thanks to their balanced roster and depth of weapons. The Sixers are in the beginning stages of working toward that goal. After Monday's game, the NBA's strongest example of "team" appreciated the direction in which Sixers are moving.

"Putting this franchise back together," Green said, "it's amazing to see."

Best of NHL: Ryan White scores in winning debut with Wild

Best of NHL: Ryan White scores in winning debut with Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Mikael Granlund beat two defenders to find open ice and wrap the winning shot around goalie Jonathan Quick just 12 seconds into overtime, giving the Minnesota Wild a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night.

Granlund's 20th goal of the season gave goalie Devan Dubnyk his NHL-leading 33rd win and the Wild their 15th comeback victory. They answered all four goals in regulation by the Kings, from Nick Shore, Tanner Pearson, Jake Muzzin and Marian Gaborik.

Jason Zucker's spinning wrist shot midway through the third period tied the game for the Wild, who also had goals from Nino Niederreiter, Jordan Schroeder and Ryan White in his debut. White and Martin Hanzal were acquired in a trade with Arizona the night before (see full recap).

Kucherov's hat trick carries Lightning past Sens
TAMPA, Fla. -- Nikita Kucherov scored three power-play goals in the second period and the Tampa Bay Lightning kept their fading playoff hopes alive with a 5-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Monday night.

Kucherov had the second hat trick of his career and added an assist in the third period. Jonathan Drouin assisted all three of his goals and Victor Hedman assisted on two.

A day after trading goaltender Ben Bishop to Los Angeles and just hours after trading forward Brian Boyle to Toronto, the Lightning improved to 6-1-2 over their past nine games.

The Senators, who won at Florida on Sunday night, are 6-6 over their past 12 games (see full recap).

Galchenyuk lifts Canadiens over Devils in OT
NEWARK, N.J. -- Alex Galchenyuk scored on a power play at 2:54 of overtime and the Montreal Canadiens rallied from a two-goal third-period deficit to beat the New Jersey Devils 4-3 on Monday night.

Max Pacioretty scored twice in the final 11:23 of regulation to tie the game and Alexander Radulov added a goal for the Canadiens, who won consecutive games for the first time since early January. Al Montoya had 34 saves for Montreal.

Kyle Palmieri, John Moore and Travis Zajac scored for the Devils, who have lost four straight games (0-2-2), the past two in overtime. Cory Schneider made 29 saves.

Galchenyuk beat Schneider with a shot from between the circles less than a minute after Damon Severson was penalized for hooking (see full recap).