Joe Johnson is a legend.
Let’s start there. Don’t ever forget that Johnson could, and apparently still can, get buckets with the best of him when so motivated to do so. The seven-time All-Star is well past his prime years, but on Saturday night he turned back the clock in Los Angeles with a 21-point performance to lead the Jazz to a Game 1 victory over the Clippers.
Johnson was 9-of-14 shooting, including 3-of-4 from three-point range on the night, as the veteran led Utah to an improbable win after star center Rudy Gobert went out with a knee sprain in the first minute of the game. Johnson had 14 of his 21 in the first half, then took it slow for most of the second half before it was money time in the fourth quarter. Money time is Joe Johnson time. It always has been — the man hasn’t made $200 million in his career on accident.
The Clippers tied the game with 13 seconds to play as Chris Paul got a high-banking layup to drop after a phenomenal individual effort all fourth quarter to drag his team to a chance to win. Despite having two timeouts, the Jazz opted to play the situation out and put the ball in the hands of Johnson and let Iso-Joe do what Iso-Joe does.