In his previous NBA stints — 77 games with the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers, Keon Johnson was not seen as a very reliable 3-point shooter. The University of Tennessee product averaged a little better than 36% from deep, not a great number for a shooting guard.
That concern seems to be over. Signed by the Brooklyn Nets to a two-way deal in early November, the 21-year-old is shooting 38.5% over 25 games (and hit 2-of-4 in his one NBA game vs. Milwaukee) and of late he’s been on fire. In his last three games with Long Island, all wins, he’s shot 12 of 17 or 70.5%.
After shooting 7-of-9 in a win Friday night vs. Windy City, KJ hit 4-of-7 off the bench Saturday as the Nets G League affiliate beat the Bulls affiliate, 123-112, to complete a five-game road trip with a 3-2 record and move into first place in the G League’s Eastern Conference.
Johnson finished with 24 to lead all scorers. Jalen Wilson continued his solid all-around play with 16 points, seven rebounds and nine assists shooting 6-of-12 overall. Jordan Hall, the 6’8” wing from Cape May, N.J. who played for the Nets in the Summer League, finished with 20 points. Kennedy Chandler, another Summer League alum, finished with 19 points and five assists while David Muoka, the 6’11” big from Hong Kong and UNLV, had 10 points, nine rebounds and a block.
Noah Clowney, limited by foul trouble, played only 26 minutes. He registered only nine points on 2-of-6 shooting and eight rebounds but still blocked four shots, giving him seven in the last two games (53 minutes.)
The game was close throughout and a 3-point play by Long Island native Terry Roberts tied the game at 92-all to close the third quarter...
Roberts AND1⃣ to tie the game pic.twitter.com/7r6lFbphXO— Long Island Nets (@LongIslandNets) January 21, 2024
Long Island then dominated the fourth, outscoring Windy City by 11, the margin of victory. The young Nets return to Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday night to face the Motor City Cruise, the Pistons’ affiliate. Game time is 7:00 p.m. ET and the game will be available on the G League website, ESPN+ and the YES App.
Dariq Whitehead, who’s been playing for Long Island throughout the season, was declared out by the Brooklyn Nets with a stress reaction in his left shin, a function of his recovery from off-season surgery just before last June’s draft. Whitehead told ND’s Jordan Greene in early December that the shin splints had been holding him back.
“In terms of my recovery process, I feel like I’m there. I just got to get over these shin splints in my left leg, which is the only thing right that is not letting me jump the way I want to jump,” he said. When I get over this, I’ll be 100% back,” Whitehead told Greene.
There’s no timeframe for his return.