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Sunday, May 11, 2014
Johnson's long-range shooting buoys Nets

By Mike Mazzeo

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- On Saturday night, it didn’t matter if it was from the corner, the wing or the top of the key.

Joe Johnson was spotting up beyond the arc, receiving on-time, on-target passes from Deron Williams, and draining 3-pointers all over the court.

Johnson went 5-for-7 from downtown in Game 3, leading the Brooklyn Nets to a 104-90 victory over the Miami Heat. The Nets hit a franchise playoff-record 15 3s overall on 25 attempts.

“I thought the reason was because we were able to get stops and get out in transition, and it worked great for us,” Johnson said Sunday.

Quietly, as always, Johnson remains Brooklyn’s best postseason performer.

“You know, Joe’s been great for us all year,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “He’s one of the leaders on this team. You know, he probably doesn’t say a lot, on the court or to you guys, but in that locker room, those guys look to Joe as a leader, and he’s playing extremely well for us.”

Against the Heat, Johnson is averaging 16.3 points per game on 57.1 percent shooting -- including 47.1 percent from 3. Overall in the playoffs, he’s averaging 20.2 points on 53.4 percent shooting -- including 42.3 percent from downtown.

“He’s an unbelievable player,” LeBron James said of Johnson. “He plays at his own tempo. You can’t speed him up. And he’s a big body, too, so he can get physical with us as well.”

Asked why he’s been able to have so much success, Johnson said, “It’s just about staying focused on both ends of the court. Just picking my spots offensively and defensively, and helping my teammates.”

Johnson enjoys going up against James, Dwyane Wade and the rest of the two-time defending champions.

“This is what we asked for, so now that we’re here, we have to make the most of it,” Johnson said. “This is basketball at the highest level.”