Stats & Info: Joe Johnson

Top stats to know: Heat 96, Nets 94

May, 14, 2014
May 14
The Miami Heat are good at closing teams out — whether that means closing them out in a game, or closing them out in a series. They added another win to their close-out ledger by edging the Nets in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series.

The Heat are 9-0 at home in series-clinching games in the James-Wade-Bosh era. They have won eight of nine games overall in these playoffs, matching their record from the first two rounds last year. The Heat are also 12-2 all-time in postseason against the Nets.

They are the first team to reach four straight conference finals since the Pistons made six straight from 2003 to 2008.

The Heat also improved to 13-0 all-time in the playoffs when each of their “Big 3” play and combine for at least 70 points.

Difference in the series: The fourth quarter
The Heat separated themselves from the Nets in the fourth quarter all series long, and especially in Game 5. Miami outscored Brooklyn 30-19 in the final stanza Wednesday, finishing the game on a 13-3 run.

Miami outscored Brooklyn by an average of 6.4 points in the fourth quarter and shot a considerably better percentage from the field, the free throw line and three-point range.

Heat find their range
After shooting 1 for 16 from three-point range in the first half, the Heat made eight three-pointers in the second half, five of which were uncontested. Chris Bosh led the way, making 4 of his 5 three-point attempts in the second half.

Ray Allen’s three-pointer with 32 seconds left gave the Heat the lead for good, their first lead in the game since the first half.

Difference-Maker: Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade’s 20 first-half points matched his most in a half this regular season or postseason. He finished with 28 points for the game, eight coming on drives to the basket.

Wade averaged 4.4 points on drives in the first eight games this postseason.

LeBron's impact comes on defense
Joe Johnson shot 6 for 6 when guarded by LeBron James in the first 43 minutes of the game, but in the final five minutes against James, Johnson was 0 for 2 a turnover, and James prevented a Johnson shot attempt in the game’s final moments.

Keys to victory: Nets 104, Heat 90

May, 11, 2014
May 11
Behind a strong effort from their offense, the Brooklyn Nets bounced back in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to hand the Miami Heat their first loss this postseason, 104-90.

Deron Williams recovered from his scoreless outing in Game 2 with 9 points and 11 assists, his first double digit assist game of this postseason. Joe Johnson scored 19 points and Paul Pierce 14.

The Heat had not faced a fourth-quarter deficit in the 2014 playoffs and their first postseason loss since Game 5 of last year's NBA Finals. The loss matches the Heat's fifth biggest postseason loss in the Big-3 era (since 2010-11).

The Nets are now 2-10 all-time against Miami in the playoffs. The Heat had been an unsolvable riddle for the Nets before snapping a six-game playoff losing streak versus them.

James quiet after big first quarter
LeBron James scored 28 points for the Heat, his most in a game this series. He scored 16 points in the first quarter but had 12 the rest of the game. A key difference was his inability to make jump shots.

He was 4-of-5 shooting when Paul Pierce guarded him in the first quarter.

The rest of the series, James is 4-of-11 against Pierce, including 0-of-2 in the last three quarters of Game 3.

Nets strong from three-point line

The Nets were 15-25 from the three-point line (60 percent from deep), their most makes in a playoff game in 25 seasons. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the fifth time in NBA playoff history that a team has taken at least 25 three pointers and made 60 percent or more.

In Game 3, the Nets had 10 uncontested jump shots (47 total jumpers) and made eight (all assisted).

Heat struggle in the paint

Miami scored a postseason-low 26 points in the paint in Game 3. They had 43 PPG in the paint during the first two games of the series.

Picking the most clutch in NBA playoffs

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
With the NBA playoffs starting Saturday, we’re bound to see tight games and pressure-packed situations. The question then becomes, whose hands do you want the ball in?

The top chart above shows each playoff team’s leader in clutch-time usage percentage this season, along with his true shooting percentage (which weighs three-point field goals greater and accounts for free throw shooting). Clutch-time is defined as situations in which the game is within five points in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime.

The bottom chart shows each of those 16 players’ overall Player Efficiency Rating along with his PER in clutch-time situations.

Kevin Durant less efficient
Kevin Durant
First, no playoff team leans more on a player in clutch time than the Oklahoma City Thunder do with Kevin Durant. He’s the only one of the 16 who has a clutch-time usage percentage over 40 percent, and Durant’s is nearing 46 percent. However, his efficiency numbers drop off in crunch-time, as his PER drops from nearly 30 in all situations to just over 25 in crunch-time. That's still above league average, but it's below average among these 16 "go-to" guys.

His main opponent for league MVP, LeBron James, increases his already-high efficiency numbers in crunch-time, despite the Miami Heat leaning on him heavily.

Harden: Mister Clutch?
James Harden
Watch out for the Houston Rockets and James Harden. Harden has the highest clutch-time efficiency rating of the 16 players, with the second-highest usage rate. Mike Conley also ups his performance in crunch-time, which could put the Thunder on upset alert if the Memphis Grizzlies point guard gets hot late in their series.

Sticking with the Western Conference, Stephen Curry has hit all 31 of his crunch-time free throws this year, but has shot just 28 percent from 3-point range for the Golden State Warriors in those situations.

Who could struggle
Despite the Brooklyn Nets second-half surge, their clutch-time leader, Joe Johnson, is the worst of the 16 team leaders in terms of PER. LaMarcus Aldridge has also struggled in crunch-time for the Portland Trail Blazers, with an effective field goal percentage of 33 percent.

One of the main takeaways is that the crunch-time leader for the eighth-seeded Dallas Mavericks is not former NBA season and Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki, but instead Monta Ellis, who has taken possessions at a slightly-higher rate than Nowitzki.

LeBron fouling out fuels Nets 2-OT win

January, 11, 2014
Jan 11
Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY SportsFriday night's game swung in the Nets favor after LeBron James picked up his sixth foul.
After going 10-21 in the 2013 part of the 2013-14 season, the Brooklyn Nets improved to 5-0 since the calendar turned to 2014, outlasting the Miami Heat in double overtime on Friday night.

Brooklyn’s Joe Johnson was the story early on, scoring 22 points on 9-10 shooting in the first quarter alone. That 22-point outburst was the most points by any player in the first quarter this season, and the fourth-most in any quarter.

Joe Johnson
Johnson now has two of the four highest-scoring quarters in the NBA this season. He also had 29 against the Philadelphia 76ers in the third quarter on December 16, the most by any player in any quarter in the NBA this season.

Eighteen of Johnson’s 32 points came on shots from 15 feet or further (7-14 FG). Entering the game, Johnson had shot just 37.6% on such shots this season.

Johnson is now averaging 27.3 PPG in the last three games, all without Deron Williams in the lineup for the Nets.

But Johnson didn’t do it alone. Shaun Livingston had 19 points and 11 assists for his first double-double this season. The Nets scored 17 points off pick-and-roll plays involving Livingston after entering the game averaging 5.7 PPG on such plays this season.

The Nets held a 12-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but the Heat came back and forced overtime, outscoring Brooklyn 25-13 in the fourth quarter. LeBron James himself had 13 points, equaling the Nets entire team.

But James was called for his sixth personal foul with 36 seconds remaining in the first overtime. From that point on the Heat scored just four points, shooting 22 percent from the field. At the times of James’ foul, the Heat led by two, but the Nets came back to force the second overtime, in which they outscored Miami, 11-2.

James finished with 36 points on 12-21 shooting, but the Nets found a way to slow down King James. When Andrei Kirilenko defended James (on 11 of 30 plays), he was held to just eight points on 3-7 shooting with two turnovers.

With the victory, the Nets have now won back-to-back games against the Heat after losing each of the previous 13.

Iguodala's buzzer-beater keeps streak alive

January, 3, 2014
Jan 3

AP Photo/John BazemoreAndre Iguodala hit his second buzzer-beater of the season as the Warriors win their eighth straight game.
The saying goes that if “you live by the three, you die by the three”. The Golden State Warriors did a little bit of both Friday against the Atlanta Hawks. After Klay Thompson made the team’s first three attempts of the game from beyond the arc, the Warriors went ice cold – missing 18 straight. But in the last five minutes-and-change of the game, they hit three of six from deep including Andre Iguodala’s only three-pointer of the night at the buzzer.

Iguodala likes to beat buzzers
Iguodala has now played 23 games as a Warrior and has two buzzer-beaters – he also hit the game-winner as time expired on November 14 against the Thunder. Since entering the league in 2004-05, Iguodala has hit five buzzer-beaters. The only player to have more in that span is Joe Johnson with six.

Inside the comeback
The win gives the Warriors their first eight-game win streak since 2005. That streak looked to be in big trouble as the Warriors trailed by a game-high 15 points with just over six-and-a-half minutes left in the game. But they finished the game on a 25-9 run as Stephen Curry outscored the Hawks himself during that span with 11 points down the stretch.

Iguodala’s impact on the Warriors has been evident this season. When he was sidelined with a hamstring injury, the Warriors went just 5-7. With him they are now 17-6.

In fact, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, when the Warriors starting five consists of Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, David Lee and Andrew Bogut, they are 17-3 this season. That is the second-best win percentage (0.85) of any starting five with a minimum of 10 games played together, behind the Oklahoma City Thunder’s starting five that used to be made up of Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka (17-2, .895).

Nets core issues cost Johnson

December, 27, 2012

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Avery Johnson, Deron Williams and the Nets were just .500 when Johnson was fired as head coach.
A promising November gave way to a disastrous December for the Brooklyn Nets, as not only did the team go 3-10, but its three wins all came against teams with losing records. The net result was Avery Johnson losing his job, but the underlying statistical reasons for the Nets disappointing start are many and encompass all facets of the game -- offense, defense and personnel.

The recent narrative for the Nets has been a lack of offensive execution, as both Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace have voiced concerns with the offense. The team does rank second-to-last in the NBA in pace but its true shooting percentage stayed consistent -- 52.5 percent in November, 52.6 percent in December.

The biggest change has come on the defensive end -- the team was ninth in opponents points per 100 possessions in November (100.0) and 28th in December (108.6).

The offense isn’t completely off the hook, though. Under Johnson, the Nets experienced the biggest drop-off in offensive efficiency, field goal percentage and rebound percentage between the first and second half of any team in the NBA this season. They've lost a league-leading six games this season in which they led by at least 13 points.

But the real issue with this team might not be coaching or offensive philosophy, but rather the personnel on the court. The Nets invested heavily in the Williams-Joe Johnson-Brook Lopez-Wallace core, and it simply has not lived up to its billing this season.

Williams, the franchise cornerstone, is putting up his lowest Player Efficiency Rating (17.1) and lowest assist-per-40-minutes marks (8.7) since his rookie season of 2005-06, and his field goal percentage (39.8) would be the lowest of his career.

Of the 151 players who are averaging at least 25 minutes per game this season, Williams (52nd), Lopez (74th), Johnson (83rd) and Wallace (87th) all rank outside the top 50 in Win Shares. Lopez has missed seven of the team’s 28 games, including six in December during which the Nets went 1-5. Meanwhile, Wallace has scored in single digits more times (10) than he’s scored 20 or more (2).

Is it possible this isn’t just a bad system fit or small sample size, but rather players in decline? Joe Johnson’s current PER of 13.6 is nearly five points lower than his mark last season and would be his lowest since 2002-03. Wallace’s PER is on a much more sustained nosedive, going from 18.6 to 18.3 to 16.2 to 15.9 to 14.6 since the 2008-09 season.

But perhaps most alarming of all is the multi-season shooting decline from Williams, who has seen his true shooting percentage drop from 59.5 in 2007-08 – which ranked tied for 29th in the NBA that season – to 51.6 this season, good for T-188th.

An inside look at the 2012-13 schedule

July, 26, 2012
No lockout means a return to normalcy in this year's schedule, where each team visits each city at least once and no team has to play a back-to-back-to-back. Last season, there were 40 back-to-back-to-backs.

Also this year, the regular season will start almost two months earlier (October 30) and will end nine days earlier (April 17) than last season.

• NBA Finals rematches: Christmas Day in Miami, Valentine's Day in Oklahoma City.

• Eastern Conference Finals rematches: October 30 in Miami, January 27 in Boston, March 18 in Boston, April 12 in Miami.

• Western Conference Finals rematches: November 1 in San Antonio, December 17 in Oklahoma City, March 11 in San Antonio, April 4 in Oklahoma City.

• Check out the notable "return" games this season in the chart at right, including Carmelo Anthony making his first trip to Denver this year. Because of the lockout-adjusted schedule, the Knicks did not play at the Nuggets last season.

• Teams appearing the most frequently on ESPN networks: Los Angeles Lakers (16), Miami Heat (15), Oklahoma City Thunder (15), New York Knicks (15), Los Angeles Clippers (14), Chicago Bulls (12), Boston Celtics (11).

• The Heat and Celtics will play each other on Opening Night, October 30 in Miami. Not only will it be Ray Allen's first game against his most mates, LeBron James is 0-3 vs Celtics in season-openers (0-1 with the Heat in 2010, 0-2 with the Cavaliers in 2008 and 2009).

• Based on last season’s records, the toughest months of the season schedule-wise for the Heat will be the start of their season in October-November. But they'll follow that with their easiest month in December. And that includes a Christmas Day showdown with the Thunder.

• It hasn’t been easy for teams to defend their title recently. There’s been only one repeat champion in the last 10 years (Lakers 2009 and 2010). The last two teams defending their titles were bounced in the 1st Round (2012 Mavericks) and Conference Semifinals (2011 Lakers). The last time the Heat defended their title, in the 2006-07 season, they were dealt injuries to Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal and knocked out in the 1st Round.