Joe Cool catches fire against Sixers
December, 16, 2013
By Mike Mazzeo | ESPNNewYork.com
ESPN Stats & InfoNEW YORK -- After having one of the best quarters in NBA history, Joe Johnson decided to rest rather than take one last shot at the record books.
Johnson tied an NBA record by hitting eight 3-pointers in the third quarter of Monday night's game against the Philadelphia 76ers -- a quarter in which he scored 29 points, the fifth-most points ever scored in a quarter in league history.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Johnson needed just two 3s to tie Kobe Bryant and Donyell Marshall for the single-game record (12).
But he wasn't feeling well -- and the Brooklyn Nets were well on their way to one of their most lopsided victories in recent memory.
Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY SportsJoe Johnson scored 29 points in the third quarter against the 76ers.
So Johnson opted for sitting rather than trying to set another record.
"I asked him, but he wanted out," Nets coach Jason Kidd said after Johnson finished with a career-high 10 3-pointers and a season-high 37 points in his team's 130-94 demolition of the Sixers at Barclays Center.
"He did his job. I'm not a coach that's gonna sit someone when they're hot. If he was trying to achieve something, I'll ask. And he nicely declined and wanted to get some rest."
Johnson went 8-for-10 from 3-point range in the third quarter -- 10-for-13 overall.
Michael Redd also hit eight 3s in a quarter on Feb. 20, 2002, when he was a member of the Milwaukee Bucks.
"He went nuts," said point guard Deron Williams, who had seven of his season-high 13 assists in the third.
"He had 29 in a quarter? Oh my God."
Last season, Williams set an NBA record by hitting nine 3s in the first half on March 8 against the Washington Wizards. He finished with 11 triples and 42 points.
Yet Williams was more impressed by Johnson's performance than his own.
"His was a quarter. I did it in a half. I think his is a little more impressive," Williams said.
Johnson tied Redd when he turned what looked like an impossible step-back shot over James Anderson into a four-point play with 27.7 seconds left.
"I got a good look at it," Johnson said. "I got a little separation and got it to go."
Johnson never thought twice about resting in the fourth. He had missed Monday's practice due to a cold.
"I was hoping I wouldn't have to [play in the fourth]," he said. "Guys were telling me I needed [two more 3s] to tie the record. But most importantly, I wanted to keep guys healthy and give some other guys a chance to play."
Whatever medicine Johnson was taking, it worked.
"I'm taking a little bit of this, a little bit of that," Johnson said, laughing. "I'm starting to feel a little better, and this win helps it."
How exactly do you get that hot?
"You catch the ball with the seams every time," he said. "And every time it comes out of your hand it's going in. I can't really explain it."
In the third, Johnson was absolutely gunning. It felt like he hit a couple of those triples from Manhattan.
"Yeah. Uhh ..." Johnson replied to laughter when asked about taking some heat checks. "My teammates just kept telling me, 'When you catch it, just shoot it.'"
He did. And he made them, too. One after another. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
"That was a special performance," Kidd said.
The Nets (9-15) were without Brook Lopez (ankle) for a second straight game, but they didn’t need him against the lowly Sixers (7-19). They hit a franchise-record 21 3-pointers and established new season highs for points in a game (130), points in a quarter (42 in the third), assists (35) and field goal percentage (60.3).
But in the end, the night belonged to Johnson. The Nets have been decimated by injuries all season, but Johnson is the only starter who has not missed a game.
He's averaging 16.4 points and shooting 43.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Told of this, Johnson knocked on his wooden locker.
"I love the game. I love to come out and play, regardless [of how I feel]," he said. "I just try to do it for the guys."
Kidd appreciates what Johnson has brought to the team in terms of stability and shot-making.
"He's been the one horse that's been consistent for us," Kidd said. "We've asked him to play 40 minutes when he's had more than one injury. He's a guy who never complains. He just goes out there and does his job. So again tonight, the performance that he put on was special, it was just fun to watch."
Did his teammates want to see Johnson in there in the fourth?
"I wanted Joe to do whatever he wanted to do," Williams said. "If he wanted to rest, I wanted him to rest."
Johnson did rest. On a night when he had one of the greatest quarters in NBA history, he certainly deserved it -- even if it came at the expense of taking one last shot at the record books.