- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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Another game, another Joe Johnson buzzer-beater for the win.
It really has become commonplace these days for Joey Clutch.
For the fourth time since being traded to the Brooklyn Nets, Johnson hit a game-winning shot with no time left on the clock, giving his team a gut-check 95-93 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
But this wasn’t just any shot.
This was a behind-the-back-dribble, isolation fadeaway jumper over Serge Ibaka straightaway from 19 feet out.
It doesn’t get much more impressive than that.
“In the huddle [coach Jason Kidd] was drawing up the play and they had confidence in me,” Johnson, who was 3-for-10 from the field before connecting on the game-winner, told the YES Network. “My confidence is high.”
As well it should be -- especially with the game on the line.
Earlier this season, Johnson was just 5-for-18 from the field before hitting a buzzer-beating floater to beat the Suns in Phoenix on Nov. 15.
All told, Johnson now has six buzzer-beating game-winners since 2007-08. He also hit buzzer-beaters as a Net on Dec. 14, 2012, and Feb. 19, 2013.
“We were a different team tonight,” Johnson said. “We got down and fought back. We just gotta ride this and try to build on it.”
New year. New Nets?
After finishing up 2013 with an extremely disappointing 10-21 record, they kicked off 2014 with one of their biggest wins of the season.
Deron Williams scored a season-high 29 points while swiping five steals, Paul Pierce added 18 points, and the Nets rallied from a 16-point deficit to prevail. Kevin Durant had 24 points but was in foul trouble for much of the night.
Trailing 89-79 with 6:54 left, the Nets ripped off a 14-0 run, capped by a cold-blooded 3-pointer and tough fadeaway from Williams, to take a four-point lead. But it was short-lived.
Durant hit a seven-footer with 1:19 remaining and Ibaka converted inside with five seconds left.
But that just paved the way for Joey Clutch to play hero once again.
It was the first time this season the Nets have won when trailing after three quarters (previously 0-19). They outscored the Thunder (now 25-7) 29-16 in the fourth.
“We moved the ball offensively and got the best shot available,” Johnson said. “Deron stepped up tonight and was big for us.”
Last season, the Nets turned their season around in Oklahoma City on Jan. 2, 2013, ripping off six straight wins after beating the Thunder 110-93.
Things have changed a lot since. And this year’s team is in much worse shape than that one was in terms of injuries, poor play and all the other tumultuous times it has had to endure.
But exactly a year later, maybe this will be the springboard that enables the Nets to do it again.