For a long time, the Atlanta Hawks’ and Brooklyn Nets’ late-game strategy of getting the ball to wing Joe Johnson and having him take contested shots was tabbed “Iso-Joe,” and frequently not favorably. The 35-year-old Johnson is with the Utah Jazz now, and he not only wound up taking a crucial contested shot at the buzzer Saturday, but making it to give the Jazz a 97-95 road win in their playoff opener against the Los Angeles Clippers:
That wasn’t the first heroic moment for Johnson, either. He made plenty of other key shots in traffic down the stretch, including this one:
And this definitely isn’t new for Johnson overall:
Joe Johnson has now made an NBA-best 8 game-winning buzzer-beaters (reg season and playoffs) in the last 10 seasons.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 16, 2017
Johnson finished with a team-high 21 points off the bench on nine-of-14 shooting and added three steals, three assists and three rebounds. His performance was vital for the Jazz, who lost star center Rudy Gobert on an apparent knee injury on the first play of the game.
But Johnson and others stepped up in a big way, and Johnson proved he can still occasionally be a big factor. He only averaged 9.2 points per game this year, the first time he hadn’t hit double digits since 2002-03, but that was also while only playing 23.6 minutes per game, also his lowest total since 2002-03.
Johnson suggested Saturday that he may still be able to produce more if given more playing time (his 21 points came in 31 minutes), and he may need to pick up some of the slack if Gobert is out for any length of time. If he can perform the way he did in crunch time Saturday, he may be vital for the Jazz.
[Matt Clapp on Clippit]