OKLAHOMA CITY — Joe Johnson is no longer the scoring machine he used to be in his prime. The Brooklyn Nets guard is no longer asked to be.
However, when the game is on the line, Johnson is the one the Nets call on to pull them through, which is what he did when he hit a game-winning shot in the Nets 95-93 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder Thursday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“He was getting the ball,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “We asked if he wanted the last shot. He delivered. We understand the personnel and Joe delivered.”
The Thunder have now lost two consecutive games at home after having leads of at least 16 points. For a unit that takes pride in protecting its home court ferociously, its unacceptable.
“We have to do a better job definitely of protecting leads,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “That’s the second game in a row that we didn’t do a good job of closing quarters and closing games out. That’s something we have to do a better job of, especially on our home floor.”
The Nets used a 14-0 run to whittle the Thunder’s lead down to 89-88. Guard Deron Williams gave Brooklyn a two-point advantage when he drilled a 3-pointer with two minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Thunder forward Serge Ibaka turned the ball over, and Williams followed with another midrange jumper. Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant answered with a layup to close gap to 93-91.
The Thunder (25-7) got the ball with 13 seconds left. Durant tried to dribble around forward Kevin Garnett, then jumped in the air to make a pass. The ball was deflected but ended up in the hands of Ibaka, who drove in for a layup to tie the game with five seconds remaining.
The Nets (11-21) called a timeout and Johnson told Nets coach Jason Kidd he wanted the ball. Kidd agreed and called his number. Johnson got the ball near the top of the key and drilled a jumper in Ibaka’s face at the buzzer to win the game.