Tag: Joe Johnson

Matthew Dellavedova, Derrick Rose

Matthew Dellavedova is the most improbable leading scorer of these playoffs


LeBron James – at a level rivaled in the last decade by only the pre-Heat version of himself – has carried the Cavaliers throughout these playoffs.

Cleveland seemingly needed him more than ever in Game 6 against the Bulls on Thursday. Not only was Kevin Love obviously still out, Kyrie Irving left the game with a knee injury.

But LeBron was just 2-for-9 and hadn’t made a 3-pointer or gotten to the free-throw line midway through the second quarter. Cleveland trailed by one.

Enter Matthew Dellavedova.

Dellavedova – an undrafted second-year player best known for leg-locking Taj Gibson – led Cleveland with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 3-of-6 on 3-pointers, in the 94-73 series-clinching win.

How improbable was it that Dellavedova would lead a team in scoring during an NBA playoff game?

He averaged just 4.8 points per game during the regular season, and even with this outburst, he’s still averaging just 6.0 points per game in the playoffs.

None of the other 134 players, counting ties, to lead a team in scoring this postseason (gold) scored fewer points per game in the regular season than Dellavedova (wine):


Or in the playoffs:


Player Games as team’s leading scorer Points per game (regular season) Points per game (playoffs)
James Harden (HOU) 9 27.4 26.3
Stephen Curry (GSW) 7 23.8 27.8
LeBron James (CLE) 7 25.3 26.5
Blake Griffin (LAC) 7 21.9 25.4
Jimmy Butler (CHI) 6 20.0 22.9
Bradley Beal (WAS) 6 15.3 22.8
Marc Gasol (MEM) 6 17.4 19.6
DeMarre Carroll (ATL) 5 12.6 16.4
Anthony Davis (NOP) 4 24.4 31.5
Monta Ellis (DAL) 4 18.9 26.0
Chris Paul (LAC) 4 19.1 21.7
Derrick Rose (CHI) 4 17.7 20.3
Kawhi Leonard (SAS) 3 16.5 20.3
Brook Lopez (BRK) 3 17.2 19.8
Tim Duncan (SAS) 3 13.9 17.9
Isaiah Thomas (BOS) 3 16.4 17.5
Jeff Teague (ATL) 3 15.9 14.8
LaMarcus Aldridge (POR) 2 23.4 21.8
Dirk Nowitzki (DAL) 2 17.3 21.2
Klay Thompson (GSW) 2 21.7 20.8
DeMar DeRozan (TOR) 2 20.1 20.3
Kyrie Irving (CLE) 2 21.7 19.8
Dwight Howard (HOU) 2 15.8 17.3
Khris Middleton (MIL) 2 13.4 15.8
Paul Millsap (ATL) 2 16.7 15.3
Mike Conley (MEM) 2 15.8 14.9
Damian Lillard (POR) 1 21.0 21.6
C.J. McCollum (POR) 1 6.8 17.0
Joe Johnson (BRK) 1 14.4 16.5
Al Horford (ATL) 1 15.2 15.8
Paul Pierce (WAS) 1 11.9 15.8
Zach Randolph (MEM) 1 16.1 15.7
J.J. Redick (LAC) 1 16.4 15.2
Pau Gasol (CHI) 1 18.5 14.4
Nicolas Batum (POR) 1 9.4 14.2
Marcin Gortat (WAS) 1 12.2 13.6
Courtney Lee (MEM) 1 10.1 13.4
DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 1 11.5 12.8
Lou Williams (TOR) 1 15.5 12.8
Jarrett Jack (BRK) 1 12.0 12.3
Kyle Lowry (TOR) 1 17.8 12.3
Jared Sullinger (BOS) 1 13.3 12.3
Michael Carter-Williams (MIL) 1 14.6 12.2
Kyle Korver (ATL) 1 12.1 12.1
Deron Williams (BRK) 1 13.0 11.8
Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) 1 12.7 11.5
Amir Johnson (TOR) 1 9.3 11.5
Alan Anderson (BRK) 1 7.4 11.0
Mike Dunleavy (CHI) 1 9.4 10.9
Evan Turner (BOS) 1 9.5 10.5
Otto Porter (WAS) 1 6.0 10.3
Dennis Schroder (ATL) 1 10.0 10.2
Marco Belinelli (SAS) 1 9.2 9.3
O.J. Mayo (MIL) 1 11.4 9.0
Nene (WAS) 1 11.0 8.2
Ramon Sessions (WAS) 1 6.3 8.1
Beno Udrih (MEM) 1 7.7 8.0
Zaza Pachulia (MIL) 1 8.3 6.7
Matthew Dellavedova (CLE) 1 4.8 6.0

LeBron finished Game 6 with just 15 points on 7-of-23 shooting. He’d been 0-9 in the playoffs when scoring so little.

Of course, none of those previous nine games came with Dellavedova at his side.

Report: Nets not interested in buying out contract of Deron Williams

Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets- Game Four

Deron Williams had one stellar playoff game for the Nets, scoring 35 points during an incredible throwback performance that temporarily silenced all of his doubters.

But the resurgence was short-lived.

Williams came crashing back to reality in the games that followed, scoring just 18 points on 7-of-18 shooting combined in his team’s final two contests, both of which were losses to the Hawks that resulted in Brooklyn’s elimination from the postseason.

The Nets need to make changes in order to compete next season, but two contracts in particular seem to have them stuck. Joe Johnson has one year and close to $25 million remaining on his contract, while Williams possesses one even worse.

He’s owed $43 million guaranteed over the next two years, and Brooklyn could get out from under that by using the stretch provision to buy Williams out. But that reportedly isn’t in the team’s plans as free agency approaches.

From David Aldridge of NBA.com:

But a buyout of Williams, while potentially saving the Nets millions of dollars via the “stretch” provision, is not in the cards. The Nets are not interested in giving Williams $43 million to not play. The intriguing question is whether the Nets can deal Joe Johnson and his expiring contract, at $24.8 million next season. For one year, even at that price, Johnson would have suitors.

Devin Kharpertian at The Brooklyn Game broke down exactly how much could be saved by cutting Williams loose.

The primary reason the Nets should do this would be to remain out of repeater-tax territory. The team has claimed to be intent on re-signing Brook Lopez (which would almost certainly require a deal approaching the max), and plans to retain Thaddeus Young, as well — who has a player option for $10.2 million, unless he chooses free agency. Those two moves, with the rest of the current contracts still in place, would push the Nets over next year’s tax line somewhat certainly.

If Brooklyn can shed Joe Johnson’s deal in trade, then paying Williams to go away might not be necessary. That could be the plan for now, which would make sense given the team’s current stance that Williams won’t be bought out anytime soon.

Joe Johnson on Nets future: ‘I don’t see us coming back as the same team’

brook lopez joe johnson kg

The Nets were eliminated from the postseason by the top-seeded Hawks on Friday, and though it took longer than expected thanks to Brooklyn finding away to stay competitive for most of the series, the reality is that the Nets need to undergo a serious set of changes to the roster in order to be more competitive next season.

Joe Johnson, the team’s highest-paid player, knows this perhaps better than anyone else.

From Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

“I have no idea. Something’s going to happen. I don’t know what. I don’t see us coming back as the same team. This is my third year here. I could see if we were getting better each year, but it’s kind of been the opposite. So to not even be a .500 ball club in the East. It’s disheartening and I don’t know. I think everyone in that locker room is unsure of the future here. So we’ll see what happens going into the summer.”

In a word: Yep.

Changes most certainly are coming, but exactly what they’ll be remains unclear.

Brook Lopez has a player option for next season, but even if he chooses to become an unrestricted free agent, the Nets seem to be extremely likely to re-sign him. Thaddeus Young is likely to be back, because his player option of $10.2 million is worth taking, especially when considering it will set him up to become an unrestricted free agent just as the salary cap is set to spike in advance of the 2016-17 season. Alan Anderson, who provided a much-needed offensive spark off the bench at times during the postseason, said he’ll be opting out of the final year of his deal to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and he may or may not be back depending on what the market decides.

Where it gets much murkier is with Johnson and Deron Williams — both of whom are vastly overpaid, and neither of whom are capable of being franchise players any longer. The Nets would love to move one or both of them to get some players who are on more reasonable contracts, or ones that could more readily contribute to a more consistent level of success.

Johnson is the more likely to be moved, because he only has one year remaining on his contract for $24.8 million, while Williams has two at $21 and $22 million respectively. But it won’t be easy to find any takers.

All we know right now is that changes to the Nets’ roster are, at this point, an inevitability. And Johnson knows it, as well.

Hawks win Game 5, take 3-2 series lead over Nets

Brooklyn Nets v Atlanta Hawks- Game Five

After losing two straight games in Brooklyn and looking very vulnerable against the Nets, the top-seeded Hawks largely returned to form in Game 5, and took a 3-2 lead in the series by securing a 107-97 home victory.

But it certainly wasn’t easy.

Atlanta opened the game like the desperate team that it was. The energy was there from the very start, and the Hawks got out to a first quarter lead of as many as 17 points.

Brooklyn began to chip away in the second, behind a huge 14-point quarter from Alan Anderson. Deron Williams, who destroyed the Hawks with 35 points in Game 4, returned to his ineffective ways in this one, finishing with just five points — which made Anderson’s outburst that much more critical, especially when the rest of the Nets combined to shoot just 10-of-31 from the field over the first two periods.

While Anderson kept the Nets in it, DeMarre Carroll was the one doing the damage for the Hawks. Carroll finished with 19 first-half points against Anderson’s 16, and Atlanta led comfortably by nine at the intermission.

Kyle Korver got going in the third, and hit three three-pointers as the Hawks got back up by 14 points. The Nets went small to start the fourth, however, and quickly put together an 11-0 run to get within three points with just over nine minutes to play. The game was a battle the rest of the way, with Jarrett Jack and Joe Johnson taking over the scoring for the Nets, and Jeff Teague and Al Horford making big plays for the Hawks, especially down the stretch.

The Nets were once again within two points with 2:20 to play, after Johnson hit back-to-back threes. But the Hawks closed the game on a 10-2 run, when the shots stopped falling for the Nets and they made some costly turnovers after essentially running out of gas.

The Hawks looked like the Hawks at times in this one, just as they had during the second and third quarters of their Game 4 loss. But this is the fourth consecutive game in the series where Brooklyn has been able to go on huge runs to make things competitive, and put itself in position to have a chance to win it in the final few minutes.

That’ll be something for the Hawks to think about as the scene shifts back to Brooklyn for Game 6 on Friday.

Nets use 18-0 second-half run to secure Game 3 victory over Hawks

Brook Lopez

NEW YORK — The Hawks came into Game 3 having won the first two games of their first-round series against the Nets, just as a 60-win team facing one that finished the year six games below .500 should.

But this isn’t the same Atlanta squad that won 40 of its first 48 games of the season, and as evident as that was during those first two victories that were more closely-contested than expected, that fact became crystallized during Saturday’s demoralizing loss.

“I think they came out with a lot of energy and a lot of activity, and maybe forced some turnovers,” Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer said afterward. “And I don’t think our rhythm, our pace and all the things we do … I don’t think we started well, and they had something to do with that.”

The Nets jumped on the Hawks early, getting out to a first quarter lead of as many as 15 points. Brooklyn had given back all of it after halftime, however, and trailed by four with under three minutes to play in the third.

But the Hawks’ lack of execution returned at the worst possible time.

An 18-0 run from late in the third until midway through the fourth proved to be the difference, and Brooklyn held on for a 91-83 victory to cut their deficit in the series to two games to one.

The slow start was less than ideal, especially against a Nets team that played well enough in Atlanta to nearly steal Game 2 on the road. But the problems with the Hawks run much deeper than that.

The crisp level of ball movement that Atlanta dazzled with during the first part of the season has disappeared far too often in the playoffs. And that is of much greater concern to the top-seeded Hawks than allowing the Nets a glimmer of hope by letting them back into this series.

Jeff Teague, who was 4-of-13 from the field to finish with 13 points, six assists and four turnovers, believes his team is a long way away from playing the elite style of basketball we saw during the regular season.

“Very far,” he said, when asked how far away the Hawks were from the best basketball they played earlier in the year. “We’re not playing well at all. We’re due for a game, so hopefully next game we’ll get back to our normal self.”

Kyle Korver was limited to just two points on 1-of-8 shooting, which included going 0-for-5 from three-point distance. After being such a key component in the first two games of this series, the Nets stifled him in Game 3 — despite Lionel Hollins at one point downplaying Korver’s significance.

“We were ready for him coming off screens,” Hollins said. “He had a couple open shots that he missed, and when you scramble on a team that hard consistently … when you get open, you’re rushing your shot a little bit.”

“I didn’t really get any good looks early, and probably was pressing a little late,” Korver said. “I was trying to make something happen, but there just wasn’t a whole lot there for me tonight.”

The victory for the Nets validated what they believed at times through the first two games of the series, which was that they can compete with this Hawks team, despite the disparity in their respective fortunes during the regular season.

“I think we knew we could beat this team,” Joe Johnson said afterward.

The win came on a night where they shot just 38.6 percent from the field, and Deron Williams didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter; it was unclear whether it was because he wasn’t right physically, or because he was so ineffective that he was hurting his team’s chances.

At the same time, it’s becoming painfully clear to this Hawks team that they’re no longer the juggernaut they once were. As Brooklyn is finding its way, Atlanta seems to be slipping further and further from the early-season identity it established as a dominant team that shared the ball, and consistently created open looks for shooters within the confines of its equal-opportunity offense.

“We haven’t been sharp offensively for a little while now,” Korver said. “Maybe this will kind of jar some things and we’ll figure some things out, and play with a little more purpose and a little better on Monday.”

Or maybe, the issues that exist aren’t ones which can be fixed that easily.