Joe Johnson has come under fire at times the past few years for not living up to the mammoth contract that will pay him nearly $70 million over this season and the next two. While still productive, Johnson doesn't consistently perform at a high enough level to warrant all that money, and the nickname "Iso Joe" is usually viewed in a negative light.
But despite his shortcomings, there's a time where Johnson has consistently produced in Brooklyn: the clutch.
Johnson had struggled for much of the game, shooting just 3-of-10 overall and 1-of-6 from three prior to his game-winner. But Nets head coach Jason Kidd drew up the final play for Johnson anyway, because the 32-year-old hasn't just been good in the clutch in Brooklyn, he has been otherworldly.
Over the last two seasons, Johnson is 6-of-6 in the final 10 seconds of regulation or overtime when his team is tied or behind by three points or less. In the final 30 seconds of regulation or overtime in similar situations, Johnson is 12-of-14.
Tim Bontemps of the New York Post took the time to compare Johnson's stats in those situations to some other top players in the NBA. The results are quite interesting:
And in the last 10 seconds in those same late/close situations (team tied/within 3), Joe Johnson is 6-for-6. Carmelo Anthony is 0-for-10.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) January 3, 2014
Over that same span, LeBron James is 8-for-17 within final 30 seconds, 4-for-11 within the final 10 seconds.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) January 3, 2014
Kobe Bryant last year was 4-for-11 in final 30 seconds, 3-for-9 in the final 10 seconds. Kevin Durant is 4-for-12 and 0-for-6, respectively.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) January 3, 2014
Over that same span, Paul Pierce has gone 4-for-15 and 2-for-12 in final 30 and 10 seconds, respectively, when score is tied or within 3.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) January 3, 2014
Since somebody asked, Stephen Curry is 2-for-10 and 1-for-7 with 30 and 10 seconds remaining tied/within three, respectively.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) January 3, 2014
One final guy: In last 30 seconds tied or within 3, Kyrie Irving is 6-for-21. In final 10 seconds in same situation, Irving is 5-for-16.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) January 3, 2014
Of course, none of this means Johnson is actually better than any of those players, besides Pierce. The sample size is very small, and Johnson wasn't all that successful in the clutch as a member of the Atlanta Hawks. Still, this recent run he's on is quite incredible.
Prior to the season, Johnson talked to Devin Kharpertian of The Brooklyn Game about his clutch play. Johnson spoke about reading the defense and forcing his defender to over-anticipate whatever moves he makes. Johnson said ideally he likes to be able to make two moves in order to create separation and get up a good shot. That happened on Thursday.
Johnson's hot shooting in the clutch is not really sustainable, but until he starts missing those shots regularly again, the nickname "Joe Cool" may just be a better fit than "Iso Joe."