Second-half spotlight on J.J.

February, 18, 2013
2/18/13
9:45
AM ET
Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson had participated in the past six All-Star Games.

But after not being picked in 2012-13, Johnson got a four-day break for the first time since 2005-06.

[+] EnlargeJoe Johnson
Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY SportsJoe Johnson's Nets enter the second half at 31-22, trailing only the Knicks in the Atlantic.
Given that Johnson is 31 and averaging 37.9 minutes per game, that's not such a bad thing heading into the second half, is it?

In a gutsy move, Nets GM Billy King acquired Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks in July, in an effort to convince point guard Deron Williams to stay.

It worked.

Coming into the season, King figured Iso Joe and D-Will would form the best backcourt in the NBA. But that hasn't been the case.

Both players have always had the ball in their hands -- a duty they've had to share this season.

Fifty-three games in, Johnson is shooting just 42.4 percent (his lowest percentage since 2002-03) while averaging 17.0 points (his lowest scoring average since 2004-05).

While those numbers aren't great, Johnson, who is earning $19.75 million this season, has hit some big shots.

In fact -- as first pointed out by the Nets' official website -- Johnson is 6-for-7 in the last 30 seconds of games when his team is ahead or behind by three points. That includes three game-winning shots against Detroit, Washington and New York.

On Jan. 21 -- the day he beat the Knicks with a baseline fadeaway -- Johnson scored 25 points. But in his next 11 games, he averaged just 14.6 points on 39.6 percent shooting while not scoring more than 19 during that span.

On Wednesday night, however, Johnson entered the All-Star break on a high note, scoring 26 points while adding a season-high nine assists in his team's 119-108 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

And this time, rest was his reward.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Deron Williams
PTS AST STL MIN
18.5 6.4 1.4 37.5
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsK. Garnett 8.3
AssistsD. Williams 6.4
StealsD. Williams 1.4
BlocksB. Lopez 1.7