You know, it wasn’t supposed to be this way for the Brooklyn Nets. They were locked into a double-overtime contest with the Detroit Pistons. The Nets were supposed to be one of the better teams in the East and here they were struggling against the 7-17 Pistons. Tied at 105 with 5.8 ticks left, the Nets’ Joe Johnson knew exactly what to do.
Johnson inbounded the ball to Deron Williams. Williams immediately handed the ball off to Johnson and let him go to work. This was the familiar iso-Joe that we had seen in Atlanta for so many years. Tayshaun Prince was there to meet Johnson and his wiry frame had always been an advantage in defense.
Johnson dribbled on top of the key and looked like he was going to make his way to the right elbow. However, Johnson pulled back his dribble by going behind his back. That was enough for the long Prince to get him off his balance. Johnson stepped back for the long jumper as Prince tried to recover. It didn’t matter. Shot went through the hoop. Ballgame. Nets win.
Prince is a tough defender and we all knew that from his long tenure in Detroit. But Johnson was crafty enough and gave himself just enough space for a jumper. And probably a little more space than usual because, once again, Prince has that incredible length. And that was a good shot by Johnson. A long two is not what you would normally want in that sequence so give credit to Joe for making that outside jumper.
Johnson finished with a game-leading 28 points to go along with four rebounds and five assists. He also played a game-high 52 minutes out of a possible 58. Good thing he had enough energy for one more play and one more shot.
And what a shot it was.