Joe Johnson's bank shot at buzzer boosts Brooklyn Nets

By Larry Fleisher, The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 9, 2016 at 7:02 AM
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NEW YORK -- Team owner Mikhail Prokhorov raised his arms in triumph, and the Brooklyn Nets' reserves rose in celebration.

Moments of jubilation have been rare for the Nets this season, but with one shot, forward Joe Johnson provided a reason for rejoicing.

Johnson hit the game-winning 3-pointer with one-tenth of a second remaining, and the Nets pulled out a dramatic 105-104 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night after squandering a 16-point lead.

Johnson's dramatic moment unfolded after the Nets used two timeouts with 1.3 seconds remaining after forward Kenneth Faried's running jumper over point guard Shane Larkin gave Denver a 104-102 lead.

Following the timeouts, the Nets began moving before guard Markel Brown completed his inbounds pass. Johnson started in the paint but quickly moved to the perimeter and took the pass from Brown.

Left uncontested, Johnson took one step and released the ball before Denver forward Danilo Gallinari could reach him. The shot appeared to have enough on it, and when it banked in just before the horn, it touched off a wild celebration on the court while Prokhorov rose from his suite-level seat to exult.

"I knew it was on line," Johnson said. "I didn't know if it was going to go in or not. I couldn't tell you if I banked it or if it went straight in. I just remembered seeing it go in."

Nets center Brook Lopez added, "We had a number of different looks. We knew the play. We came out, we knew we had to execute it. We had a feeling this was our game, so we executed and obviously got the ball in the hands of who you'd want to have in that situation, and it looked good right when he got it off."

Johnson gave the Nets consecutive home wins for the first time since Dec. 8-10 with his fifth buzzer-beating shot since joining Brooklyn in July 2012. According to ESPN Stats and Information, it was Johnson's league-leading seventh buzzer-beater in the past 10 seasons, three more than Indiana's Monta Ellis and Golden State's Andre Iguodala.

"I knew I had one-point-something (seconds left), I had enough to at least take a dribble," Johnson said. "I was able to take a dribble, and man, I don't even know how it went in."

Nets interim coach Tony Brown said, "Give him credit, he made a helluva shot. A one-legged bank shot from three is sure to be on some highlight reels tonight."

Johnson's first buzzer-beater since Jan. 1, 2014, at Oklahoma City came on a night when six players reached double figures and the Nets shot at least 50 percent for the ninth time.

Forward Thaddeus Young led Brooklyn (14-39) with 20 points, Markel Brown added a career-high 19, and Lopez contributed 16.

"It's crazy because we've been shooting all types of shots like that in practice for the fun of it, and just to see him put it in action in a game and see it go down is amazing," Markel Brown said. "It doesn't surprise me, just another one for the resume for Joe, but it's still amazing to see, and I think it's my first one to be a part of, so it's fun, too."

Johnson made five of 10 shots, and his dramatic shot gave him 12 points. Before hitting the shot, he also moved past Scottie Pippen into 52nd place on the all-time scoring list.

"We know they were trying to go to Joe Johnson, but that's a pretty lucky shot," Gallinari said. "I mean, it's a runner from (3-point range), bank shot. I don't think he called a bank shot."

Gallinari led the Nuggets (21-32) with 24 points but missed two 3-pointers in the final 95 seconds and five of six shots in the fourth. Faried added 22 and 13 rebounds, but it was not enough for Denver to complete its comeback from a 46-30 deficit midway through the second quarter.

"We didn't deserve to win the game," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "I'm glad Brooklyn won, they deserved it. We played awful basketball most of the night. Bottom line is when you don't defend in the NBA, you don't win."

Even with its defensive issues, Denver was in position to win. The Nuggets took a 98-95 lead on a driving hook shot by Faried with 4:48 remaining but missed five of their next seven shots before Faried's shot appeared to give them the win in the final moments.

NOTES: Denver coach Michael Malone said F Darrell Arthur (sore right quad) and PG Jameer Nelson (sprained left wrist) would be likely be sidelined until after the All-Star break. ... F Chris McCullough played 10:49 in his NBA debut for the Nets, 393 days after injuring his right knee at Syracuse. "It was good being on the court," said McCullough, who scored two points. "Just to finally hear my name called, it felt great." ... Denver assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas is on the trip. He is expected to be among those interviewing for the vacant Nets GM job. ... Malone was asked about the Broncos winning the Super Bowl and said: "Obviously thrilled. It was a great day in Denver sports. We get the win. They get a much bigger win and I couldn't be prouder of the Broncos, their staff and the fact that they allowed us into their world early in the preseason. It meant a lot to myself and the coaching staff." ... Brooklyn reserve G Sergey Karasev was unavailable due to illness.

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