NEW YORK — Joe Johnson has been known as a clutch player during his tenure with the Brooklyn Nets and he came through again Monday night.
Johnson’s 3-pointer at the buzzer lifted the Nets to a 105-104 victory over the Denver Nuggets.
"The play wasn’t designed for me because we were only down two," Johnson said. "It was designed to try to get Brook (Lopez) the ball in the paint and get a layup or easy deuce and go into overtime.
"Obviously when I came up to the top of the key, I was wide open. Markel saw me and I knew I had one-point-something (on the clock), so I had enough to at least take a dribble. I was able to take a dribble and I don’t even know how it went in."
Thaddeus Young scored 20 points and Markel Brown added a career-high 19 and Johnson finished with 12 points and eight assists for Brooklyn.
"Joe actually made a good call during the timeout when I drew the play up," Nets coach Tony Brown said. "He made sure the guys had started early before the ball was handed to one of our players, so the action started early. So give him credit, he made a hell of a shot. A one-legged bank shot from (3-point range) is sure to be on some highlight reels tonight."
Danilo Gallinari scored 24 points and Kenneth Faried had 24 points and 13 rebounds for the Nuggets.
Denver won a jump ball between Faried and the Nets’ Lopez with 23 seconds remaining. After Denver called a timeout, Emmanuel Mudiay was fouled by Shane Larkin on a drive to the basket with 4.7 seconds remaining.
Faried then took the inbound pass and hit a runner with 1.3 seconds remaining to give the Nuggets a 104-102 lead.
"I thought it was over," Faried said. "Alright, 0.9, cool. They put more time on the clock. That’s enough for a dribble and a shot. Oh my gosh, I didn’t think that thing had a chance. He threw it up. But shooters are going shoot and they’re going to make big shots. He’s an All-Star. He’s known for making big shots like that and he did it tonight against us."
After Brooklyn called a timeout to advance the ball, Johnson hit the winning shot at the buzzer.
"You know, the play before, Faried made a tough shot and I was just thinking, man, just our luck," Johnson said. "He made that tough shot, but we got some luck back. It was great. Like I said, to get some excitement off a dramatic win like that and hopefully we can get another one before the break."
Nuggets: Coach Mike Malone praised the play of swingman Will Barton. "He’s been very impressive. He’s up for Most Improved Player and Sixth Man of the Year for a reason, right? The numbers he puts up, the scoring, how efficient he does it and the fact that I’d be lying if said I expected him to be our second leading scorer and doing what he’s doing." … Malone hopes to have Darrell Arthur and Jameer Nelson for first game after the All-Star Break. … Wilson Chandler (hip) and Jameer Nelson (wrist) did not dress.
Nets: Rookie Chris McCullough made his NBA debut. … Coach Tony Brown said he was unsure whether Chris McCullough would be on any minute restriction going forward and would discuss with the training staff. … Johnson passed Scottie Pippen for 52nd place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. … Sergey Karasev (illness) was a late scratch. .. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (ankle) and Jarrett Jack (knee surgery) did not dress.
Nuggets: Visit Detroit on Wednesday.
Nets: Host Memphis on Wednesday.