Joe Johnson making most of his opportunities for Nets
The hardest part for a proven scorer on a talented team, as Joe Johnson is on the Nets, is that some nights, as Johnson says, the ball just does not find you.
Depth occasionally can feel hollow, as Johnson experienced when he took only five shots (and made one) in an embarrassing loss to the Magic on Sunday night. That is the cost of being surrounded by talent. So he has developed this corollary to his maxim about the ball not finding you: "When it does find you, you better be ready. I just try to be ready at all times. You never know."
Johnson made the most of it when he had the ball in his hands last night in the Nets' 104-88 win over the Jazz. He took nine shots in his 25 minutes -- like the rest of the starters, he was allowed to rest all through the fourth quarter -- and made five of them, including two three-pointers, for 12 points.
Being on a deep team is like being in grade school: You have to be content to share. No complaints from Johnson on that score, even though he was brought here before last season to be a big scorer, and possibly the biggest scorer.
"I think we went the first eight, 10 minutes and I probably touched it twice. That's part of it," he said. "The second quarter, it found me a few times. It's just how it is, man, we're a very talented group. Whenever you get minutes, you've got to just value them and do whatever you can to help this team out.
"I've been in a situation like this before, in Phoenix. I think my game, I'm not predicated on just one thing -- catch and shoot, go off the dribble, penetrate and kick. I'm able to do multiple things, which helps me out."
It was interesting to see that on the second of his two three-pointers in the second quarter, two teammates passed when they easily could have shot. That also is part of having the kind of team the Nets have assembled. "Guys are passing up good shots for great shots. That's just how it is," he said.
Last night, the ball even found rookie Mason Plumlee, who played a bit with the starters and shot 2-for-6 in 17 minutes. "The scoring can come from any angle within the starting five," Plumlee said. "It's a real fun team to play on because when you come off the bench, you just have to lift those guys up, give them energy, because they can score the ball."
Whenever, that is, the ball finds them.