Saturday, January 12, 2013
After starting slow, Joe finds his flow
By Mike Mazzeo
Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson looks a lot more comfortable now than he did at the beginning of the season.
In his past five games, Johnson is averaging 20 points on 48.1 percent shooting, including 48.4 percent from 3-point range.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” Johnson said after netting a game-high 19 points in his team’s 99-79 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Friday night at Barclays Center.
“I’m in a great situation. We’ve got a great team. We’ve just gotta keep our confidence and keep having each other’s back. The sky’s the limit for us.”
Johnson currently leads the team in minutes played (38.1) -- and for good reason. According to 82games.com, the Nets are 13.5 points better per 100 offensive possessions when he’s on the floor (111.3 on court, 97.8 off court). This season, he’s already hit two game-winning shots in double-overtime.
“He’s playing well for us,” Nets point guard Deron Williams said. “When we need a bucket, we know we can go to him, and let him operate.”
On Friday night, Johnson battled illness and double-teams all evening, but still managed to score eight key points in the fourth quarter, as the Nets rolled to their season-high tying fifth straight win.
“He’s just been patient and playing within the offense,” D-Will said.
A far cry from what it was like in November and December, when Johnson was still learning the games and tendencies of his teammates.
“It’s a little different now because I think we know what to expect and have a better feel for one another, guy’s sweet spots,” Johnson said.
Asked about his chemistry with Johnson, Williams replied, “It’s been a lot better.”
“We know we’ve got some momentum right now,” Johnson said. “We’ve know we’ve played some pretty good basketball of late, but we’ve still got a long way to go.”