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Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Johnson on sore heel: 'I feel a lot better'

By Mike Mazzeo

Brooklyn Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo said Joe Johnson looked good Tuesday night.

The veteran shooting guard, who has been dealing with a nagging, sore left heel, said he felt good, too.

Joe Johnson
The Nets need a healthy Joe Johnson for the playoffs.
"I feel a lot better today," Johnson said after scoring 11 points on 5-for-10 shooting in 23 minutes in Brooklyn's 104-83 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers at Barclays Center.

"Like I said, I'm just trying to stay on top of it, ice it and just trying to keep it loose."

Johnson shot 9-for-27 from the field in his first two games back after missing five due to the heel injury.

The Nets had such a huge lead Tuesday that Johnson didn't need to play the fourth quarter, big considering Brooklyn travels to Boston on Wednesday night to take on the Celtics in the second-half of a back-to-back.

"Getting a chance to rest is huge," Johnson said. "I'm just trying to gain rhythm with these guys going down the stretch and into the postseason."

Johnson remains Carlesimo's greatest concern. Limiting his minutes by continuing to win big would certainly alleviate at least some of that.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: The New York Knicks officially clinched the Atlantic Division title with their 51st victory of the season. The most the Nets (45-32) can get to is 50.

Since it has the tiebreaker over Atlanta (42-36, worse conference record), Brooklyn's magic number to clinch at least the No. 5 seed is one. The Nets are 3½ games behind the Indiana Pacers for the No. 3 seed. They'd need to win out and have the Pacers lose out to get it.

Brooklyn's magic number to clinch the No. 4 seed is three because the maximum amount of wins the Bulls can get is 47 and Chicago owns the tiebreaker (3-1 head-to-head).

DIVISION DOMINANCE: The Nets are 10-4 in the Atlantic this year, the best mark in the division.

CENTURY MARK: The Nets have now scored 100-plus points in nine of the past 13 games and are 8-1 over that span. They are 22-4 on the season when they score 100-plus points in a game.