Even though he is battling the flue, Joe Johnson absolutely went off on the Philadelphia 76ers as he scored 37 points including 10 three-pointers during a 130-94 Brooklyn Nets victory at the Barclays Center on Monday night.
“I was just taking what the defense was giving me,” Johnson said. “I got into a thythm and D-Will said, ‘Just shoot.’ There were a couple of tough shots, but for the most part it was just being in the right place at the right time.”
The Nets were doing well early on as they established a 10 point lead by the end of the first quarter and led 58-48 going into halftime with 11 points from Mirza Teletovic and 10 points from Alan Anderson.
Joe Johnson took the game over in the second quarter though and absolutely dominated the game. He finished with 37 points and 10 threes, but 29 of those points and eight of those threes came in the third quarter alone. He was absolutely on fire as he set a personal career high for threes in a game and also helped the Nets set a franchise record with 21 threes.
“That was a special performance, especially being sick,” head coach Jason Kidd said of Johnson. “He got it going behind the arc and kept it going. He’s been the one horse that has been consistent for us. The performance he put on tonight was special and fun to watch.”
The game was over at that point as the Nets, who weren’t playing especially good defense, really exploited the 76ers terrible perimeter defense to the point where they just couldn’t keep up. Deron Williams finished with 13 points, 13 assists, and four rebounds, Andray Blatche had 20 points and five rebounds, and six different players had at least 11 points. The Nets finished with a 60.3 shooting percentage overall.
“Oh man it was amazing. He came out and caught fire. I’ve been in that situation before, I know how it feels,” Blatche joked about Johnson. “You gotta keep giving him the ball. It gave us energy it gave the crowd energy. It’s always fun when you win and you have players like Joe going off like that.”
“I thought it was great not just for Joe but for team moral,” Kevin Garnett said of Johnson. “Just to see somebody have a moment here, to be part of that, it was dope. It makes you feel like you are in the zone, kind of. It was just great. It was great for morale. You are so happy for the guy and want to see how long it goes. He wasn’t taking bad shots, they were all good. He had a complete flow. It was beautiful.”
The Nets have now won five of their last six games this season and seem to have turned things around. The players acknowledged that after that game, but nobody was willing to say they’re a well-oiled-machine just yet.
“In the last five or six games we’ve been a different team,” Blatche said. “We’ve been more talkative and energetic. The good things we do in practice are carrying over to the game.”
“Things have been simplified for the best and we believe in it,” Garnett said. “Jason has a lot of belief in us. I don’t want to jump the gun. Right now we’re taking it a game at a time, we understand that we have some ground to make up. We’re just trying to get better as a team overall.”