Dec 16, 2013, 10:11 PM EDT
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.
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