The Brooklyn Nets and Oklahoma City Thunder are looking at vastly different futures for the rest of the 2013-14 NBA season. While the Thunder are looking to keep the pace while Russell Westbrook is out recovering from another knee surgery, the Nets are looking to get any kind of momentum to help them get back into contention for the postseason in the Eastern Conference.
As the two teams faced off on Thursday night, though, the Nets were able to hang around thanks to a big night from Deron Williams and thanks to forcing OKC to commit 21 turnovers on the night. In the final seconds of the game, the score was tied at 93-93. Despite Williams having the game of the night for Brooklyn, it was Joe Johnson that stepped up to play hero.
Off of an out-of-bounds play, Johnson came off of a screen and had Serge Ibaka switched onto him. Johnson gained just enough space to get a shot off from 19 feet out at the top of the key. Just getting the shot over Ibaka’s outstretched arm, Johnson buried it to give Brooklyn the 95-93 victory.
What might be most impressive about Johnson’s shot is the confidence that his team had in him and that he had in himself to even take the shot in such a big situation. Johnson had been struggling to find a rhythm for most of the night as he was shooting just 3-10 from the field when he pulled up for the game-winner.
Johnson has already shown this season that he has the ability to take over at any given moment, but it’s his lack of conscience that really makes him a special player. Yes, he’s wildly overpaid and part of this underachieving Nets team, but he’s also a player that has the ability to help carry this Brooklyn team in close games and in certain situations if they can get it going as a whole.