Philadelphia 76ers v Brooklyn Nets

Monday night NBA grades: Joe Johnson owns the third. And the Sixers.


Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed figuring out James Bond was an impotent drunk.

source:  Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets. You are simply never going to see a player have a hotter hand, at least for a quarter of basketball. In the third quarter Monday night Johnson tied an NBA record 8 threes on his way to 29 points in those 12 minutes. He couldn’t seem to miss, it was an incredible display of shooting. Johnson went on to score 37 points and the Nets just routed the struggling 76ers.

How can we explain just how well Johnson played in the third quarter? Well, check out his shot chart.


If that doesn’t do it, check out the video.

source:   Josh Smith, Detroit Pistons. Smith didn’t make the list just because he helped lead the Pistons to an upset of the Pacers on the road — he finished with 30 points (although it took him 29 shots to get there, not exactly efficient). No, Smith makes the list for the back-to-back 30 point games — he had 31 points the night before in an overtime loss to the Trail Blazers. That’s an impressive couple nights. (Also a couple good games for the Pistons.)

source:  Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards. Here’s all you need to know about how he played Monday night — on his first night back from a leg injury, down one with time for one final shot, John Wall handed the ball off to Beal then cleared out so he could have an isolation. He made his drive, Andrea Bargnani didn’t slide over to help (does he ever?) and Beal hit the game winner. He finished the game with 21 points. Think they missed him in Washington?

source:  Mike Woodson, coach of New York Knicks. What. Was. That? It’s not all on Woodson, but the final 20 seconds of the game was just flat out dreadful for the Knicks. First off, they had a foul to give but never used it so Bradley Beal gets his good look at a game winner driving the lane. Still. the Knicks can win it down just one — but Woodson decides not to call a time out and just let it play out. He chose… poorly. Watch what the Knicks do below. First they argue for a second. Then they throw it to Carmelo Anthony and there is no play and help, just a mess that leads to a terrible shot. Woodson’s seat was hot enough before that ending.

source:   LeBron James, Miami Heat. It was an almost effortless 30 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists. Yes, that was against the Jazz but Utah played a strong first half and was making Miami work for it. The thing to watch here is that LeBron tweaked his ankle in this one — watch and see if he will be ready to go on Wednesday when the Heat host the Pacers.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry

The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.