Johnson did not attempt a shot until the 6:10 mark of the first quarter, and did not make a shot until hitting a three-pointer at the 3:11 mark of the second quarter, which was only his third shot attempt overall.
When Deron Williams was sidelined with injury, Johnson scored at least 15 points in seven of the nine games. But for some reason, Johnson does not take as aggressive an offensive approach when D-Will is on the floor. Sure, Williams poured in a game-high 25 points in his return to action, but I think D-Will should be the one consistently setting up Johnson with open looks.
With the Celtics threatening late, Johnson did hit a big shot with 52.2 seconds left to put the Nets back up 10, but, to me, he just seems timid when on the floor with Williams. For this team to begin its turnaround, Johnson has to play with the same intensity he exhibited with Williams out.
Naturally, between Williams, Johnson, Brook Lopez, Kevin Garnett and healthy Paul Pierce, there will be nights where Johnson does not crack the 15-point plateau. But for a max contract player – whose strongest feature on the court is his smooth shooting stroke – to not even attempt a shot until the halfway mark of the first quarter is hard to imagine. I’m sure Jason Kidd has tried to call his number early in games, and the looks just weren’t there. But Johnson needs to take his shot when he has it rather than passing it up for one of his teammates.