Maybe every night should be Joe Johnson Bobblehead night.
“Nah,” Joe Johnson said after a drawled chuckle, when asked if it was The Bobblehead. “Not even. Not even that.”
It’s been a rough start to the season for 34-year-old, seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson. Heading into Tuesday night, Johnson held season averages of 11 points per game on 35 percent shooting, looking more like a tired 34-year-old professional athlete than the consistent producer he’d been since his days in Atlanta. Johnson, who’s averaged just over 15 points per game through his Brooklyn tenure, had scored fewer than 15 in 15 of the team’s first 20 games, and had only eclipsed 20 points once.
So much for that. Johnson tied his season high with a 22-point performance against the Houston Rockets, scoring 15 in the fourth quarter alone to help lead the Nets to a 110-105 victory.
His fourth-quarter burst came playing as a nominal “power forward,” as he shared the floor with Jarrett Jack, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Markel Brown. The lineup allowed the Nets to hold off Houston’s late run.
“The court was so spaced out, that we was able to make plays and keep guys on their heels defensively,” Johnson said of playing at the 4. He finished with eight of the team’s season-high 27 assists, second on the team to Jarrett Jack (9).
Jack credited Johnson as a playmaker when thrust into the power forward spot. You can see a few of the plays Johnson made in the video above to get teammates clean looks: Johnson used his ability to suck defenses in, then dished out.
“Joe is a willing and able passer,” Jack said. “A lot of people didn’t — that wasn’t a thing that was known to me watching him in Atlanta. But now, watching him, he makes the appropriate play based on the situation. That’s all you can ask out of anybody.”
Jack even praised Johnson despite not getting a Bobblehead. Johnson said he took two boxes home.
“He stiffed me for the joint, I can’t believe it,” Jack joked. “Don’t worry, I’ma get him though. I’ma go to his house, probably swipe one. I might have to apply some of my talents I had back in the day. The five-finger discounts!”
Both Jack and Johnson finished with three steals on the night, so time will who’s the better pickpocket.