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'Joe Jesus' misses again at the buzzer

1/6/2015

NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets coach Lionel Hollins drew up a couple of plays for his team’s final possession of regulation Monday night, but he quickly abandoned them.

The Nets have arguably the most clutch player in the NBA.

It was Joe Jesus time.

With the score tied, Hollins told Joe Johnson to go out and make a play. So Johnson did. He got himself a great look at a jumper over Richard Jefferson out of an isolation set.

“Looked good, felt good,” Johnson said of the shot.

“Just came up a little short.”

Johnson’s miss sent the Nets into overtime, but they failed to keep pace with the Dallas Mavericks, falling 96-88 at Barclays Center.

In his previous two seasons, Johnson went 7-for-8 on shots in the final 10 seconds of games in which the Nets were tied or trailing by three or fewer points, including four game-winners at the buzzer. But Johnson is 0-for-4 in those situations this season, failing to come up with game-winners at the horn on three different occasions -- twice against Milwaukee on Nov. 19 and then Monday night.

Just don’t expect his confidence to wane as a result.

“I’m gonna keep the confidence and keep stepping up in those situations trying to make plays,” Johnson said.

Johnson has been a model of consistency during the team’s 16-18 start to the season. He’s averaging 16.6 points on 38.2 percent shooting from 3-point range. The past two nights, he has logged a combined 86 minutes.

Down 80-74, Johnson hit back-to-back 3s to tie the game and send the sellout crowd into a frenzy. Ultimately, the Nets dropped to 2-14 against .500-or-better opponents because their offense went cold following a 35-point first quarter in which Brook Lopez had 18 points. From the start of the second quarter to the 7:20 mark of the fourth, Brooklyn hit just 22.7 percent of its shots -- missing all 15 of its 3-pointers in that span. The Nets went just 3-for-25 from beyond the arc overall, which led to their undoing.