​Joe Johnson's Clutch Play Is Killing the Clippers

Johnson's late-game performance has lifted the Jazz to a 3-2 series lead over the Clippers.

Joe Johnson is one of the best clutch performers in NBA history.

You can debate some of the latter of his seven All-Star selections and whether or not he deserves the honor of being one of the highest-paid athletes of all time, but one thing that is not put into question is his ability to rip out the hearts of opposing teams with late-game daggers and game-winners.

Even now, as a 35-year-old veteran coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz, the man they call “Joe Jesus” can still perform miracles.

We’re only five games into Utah's first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, and Johnson has already buried two late-game shots to propel two of the three Jazz victories.

First, the Jazz stole Game 1 on the Clippers’ homecourt with a Joe Johnson buzzer-beater:

Then, in last night’s Game 5, once again on LA’s home floor, Johnson buried a late-game dagger that ended up being the difference:

In clutch time so far this postseason (games within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime), Johnson has scored a cool 18 points in 17 minutes, while shooting 8-for-10 from the field and 2-for-3 from three-point range. His 80.0% shooting from the field is easily the best of anyone who’s taken even a minimum of three clutch shots this postseason.

The Jazz have a net rating (points scored minus points allowed per 100 possessions) of 16.9 in Johnson’s 17 clutch minutes during these playoffs, but his impact isn’t just felt in the dying minutes of close contests. Utah has a net rating of 2.9 in his 160 minutes of action this postseason, as compared to a -7.1 mark (the lowest on the team) in his 80 minutes on the bench.

On the series, he’s averaging 18.2 points per game on 53.4% shooting from the field, 36.4% from deep, and 83.3% from the free throw line, while adding 3.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.2 steals in 31.9 minutes per contest.

In the three Jazz wins, his averages vault to 21.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.7 steals in 32.2 minutes per game, while his shooting split hits a blistering 60.0% from the field, 58.3% from long range, and a perfect 100.0% (2-for-2) from the charity stripe in those contests.

Now that the Jazz have a 3-2 lead on the Clippers, they have a 76.99% chance of winning the series, according to our algorithms, and a 59.59% chance of closing it out in Game 6 at home.

Curious how Clippers’ owner Steve Balmer feels about facing Joe Johnson and his infinite clutch ability this postseason?

That picture says it all.