Joe Johnson’s Big Three Shows Why Utah Jazz Brought Him to SLC
The Utah Jazz were able to hang on to defeat the Phoenix Suns on Monday, and Joe Johnson’s big plays down the stretch were a big reason why.
Over the past few seasons, the Utah Jazz have struggled during late game situations. Young teams tend to do that. However, bringing in George Hill, Joe Johnson and Boris Diaw over the summer gave the Jazz players who have playoff experience; players who have hit some big shots throughout their respective careers.
Johnson in particular has a reputation for knocking down big shots as a seven-time All-Star. His clutch skills were on full display in Utah’s Monday night win over Phoenix. He finished the game with 15 points off the bench, but his biggest shot came with under one minute left in the fourth.
The Jazz, struggling to find a good look, found Johnson in the corner and he buried a three right over P.J. Tucker to give them a one-point lead.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) January 17, 2017
This team has needed someone like Johnson for some time. Yes, Gordon Hayward has hit some big shots during his time with Utah. So too has Rodney Hood. But they couldn’t get the fourth quarter production going on a consistent basis as younger players.
It’s just more difficult for young teams to close out games. This is where acquiring Johnson, Hill and Diaw was a brilliant series of moves by Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey.
So far this season, the Jazz have looked much better down the stretch. They have blown some fourth-quarter leads at times, but it’s good to see the progress this team is making in that department. It will be needed, especially come playoff time.
Johnson is a big part of that. Hill has grabbed a lot of the headlines, but the Suns win is another example of what Iso Joe can contribute. He has been very productive in his first season with the Jazz, whether he is starting, or coming off the bench.
Johnson is averaging 8.3 points in 22.2 minutes per game on the season. Not too shabby for a 35-year-old.
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Johnson and the Jazz will be in Dallas on Friday, looking to make it five wins in a row.