- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Joe Johnson had a simple explanation for how he put an end to his recent five-game shooting slump.
"I think it's been me being a little more aggressive. Me handling the ball a little bit more and me making plays, making decisions," Johnson said Thursday. "All that ties into getting into a rhythm and offensively I've been in a pretty good rhythm, trying to take advantage of what the defense gives me."
From Dec. 27-Jan. 4, Johnson shot just 15 of 50, including 4 of 23 from beyond the arc. In the final game of that stretch against Cleveland on Jan. 4, he was 1-for-7 from the floor and missed all but one shots from deep. His 14.3 shooting percentage in that game was his lowest of the season.
In his last two games, though, Johnson has regained his touch. Monday, he went 10-for-22 against his former team, Atlanta, and was 8-for-17 against Golden State on Wednesday. He's also shot 30 percent from 3-point range in that span. The Nets won both of those games.
If the Nets are going to continue their surge, as they have won a season-best four games in a row entering Friday's game against Miami, they're going to need Johnson to continue to shoot well.
"Shots are going in, he's getting the same looks. I don't know it [was] a funk. He doesn't always have to score 20 to win. He made a big game-winner in Oklahoma City," Nets coach Jason Kidd said. "I think he's got a lot of touches, he's made all the right plays for us coming down the stretch and also during the game."
Question: What have you noticed in Johnson's last two games?
In case you missed it:Deron Williams will miss Friday's game against Miami and Saturday's against Toronto and is questionable for the trip to London. ... The Nets beat Miami 101-100 the last time they played on Nov. 1, but that was a long time ago. ...Andray Blatche was surprised that at 14-21 that the Nets were in eighth place in the Eastern Conference entering Friday's games.
Up next: The Nets host Miami on Friday at 8 p.m.
4dMarc Stein and Mike Mazzeo