Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Starting Five: Is Johnson a quiet scorer?
By Mike Mazzeo
NEW YORK -- This was one of those typical Joe Johnson games.
You know, the one where you look at the boxscore and think to yourself, “Wait, Joe Jesus scored that many points? When did that happen?”
Johnson has a knack for that type of thing -- his game quiet yet loud all at the same time.
The latest example: his 32-point performance in the Brooklyn Nets’ 105-96 playoff-clinching victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night at Barclays Center.
“It wasn’t quiet to us,” Paul Pierce said. “We took notice. That’s on y’all.”
Well, we know Paul’s opinion.
How about you, Joe?
“I’m just playing within the system,” said Johnson, who shot 13-for-21 from the field and 4-for-8 from 3-point range. “If a play breaks down, I’m able to go 1-on-1. For the most part, I’ve had a lot of catch and shoot moments. When a scorer gets into a rhythm, the basket gets a little bigger.”
Must’ve looked huge on Wednesday night.
“Sometimes it might look too easy,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “Sometimes he goes unnoticed and he has a quiet 30 points. He is by far the guy that’s been the most consistent for us all season. We need him to be dominant like he was tonight from the post but also behind the arc. Also, the nice thing is he’s very unselfish with his teammates by creating a double-team and finding open guys and letting other guys finish. He’s got the total package, and he’s showing that right now.”
This season, Johnson, a highly-debated All-Star at the time he was named a reserve, has scored 20 or more points 19 times this season and 30 or more points four times. He also has two game-winning buzzer beaters. His shooting percentages -- 45.4 percent from the field, 40.6 percent from 3-point range and 81.4 percent from the free-throw line -- are all solid.
“If he can continue to play at a high level -- especially going into the playoffs -- that’s what we’re going to need from him,” Pierce said.
Question: Do you agree with the assertion that Johnson is a quiet scorer? Let us know in the comments section below?
In case you missed it: We’ve got plenty on the blog about the Nets officially clinching a playoff berth. Ohm Youngmisuk has a column on the accomplishment, while I wrote about Wednesday night’s Nets-Knicks matchup at MSG.
KG update: According to a TNT report, Nets center Kevin Garnett, who has missed the last 17 games due to back spasms, practiced with a coach on Monday and is targeting a return on Friday against Detroit or Saturday against Philadelphia. The Nets had said the timetable for Garnett’s return was either the end of this week or next week during the two-game roadtrip in Florida.
Up next: Nets at Knicks on 7 p.m. Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.