Joe Johnson Tears The Heart Out Of Detroit; Minnesota Almost Gets Crippling Deja Vu

By: 12.15.12
Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson (photo. Zach Wolfe)

One of the most entertaining games of the season went down at the Barclays last night — and this was before Red Bull’s Midnight Run Finals took center stage on the floor. Joe Johnson was shipped out of Atlanta this summer and you sensed the Hawks fans just shrugged or celebrated when they got the news. Why? He wasn’t a clutch player. After Gerald Wallace (25 points, 10 boards) relentlessly sacrificed his body for a putback layup in regulation and then for a loose ball in overtime to keep possessions and points alive, Joe (28 points) iced a Brooklyn W, 107-105 in double OT. He locked into a one-on-one clearout against Tayshaun Prince and sold a hard drive to his right before throwing it into reverse, backtracking to the three line and hitting a fadeaway as four zeroes hit the clock. … It’s not even worth it to parse the Lakers’ win (one that snapped a four-game losing streak) over Washington as unimpressive. On a long road trip, with Kobe Bryant (30 points on 29 shots though) looking so old at times he could have played wearing a Life Alert necklace, a win is a win for L.A. This wasn’t about playing pretty after only being up three at halftime, then letting Washington creep back in to an uncomfortably close three points halfway through the fourth. When Cartier Martin can score 21 for the Wiz, you know they were causing L.A. fits. There will be some Laker fans who, after four losses, will now bemoan this win as not easy enough over the repulsive Wizards. Don’t be like them, and see that this win — any win — is the gift these Lakers needed. … Has anyone made a Tumblr yet of screenshots of Mike D’Antoni‘s face when the Lakers blow an assignment? There are lots of entertaining options to choose from. … The Celtics’ trip to Houston was kind of a snoozer until Jeff Green (nine points, seven boards) flew in in the second quarter and flushed a soaring slam over Carlos Delfino‘s helpless charge attempt. It honestly looked like a Mailman dunk, like a statue in mid-air but with a finish like granite. Rajon Rondo (15 points, 13 dimes, seven turnovers) played it perfectly by turning in the open court, thus sealing off his defender from Green on the handoff to the trailing Green. If you thought that was uncharacteristic of Green (actually playing like he was relevant), imagine our surprise when Rondo telegraphed a pass that led to the nail in the coffin for Houston going the other direction. The guard who can place a dime in the eye of a needle lazily passed 20 feet sideways to Paul Pierce, and Chandler Parsons (15 points, nine boards, eight assists) jumped it like it was Revis Island. Going the other way he sucked in a defender in the paint, leaving Toney Douglas all alone for the triple to go up 11 and a win. … Hit the jump to hear about Kevin Love’s new painful chapter …

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