When Joe Johnson signed with the Miami Heat in February after agreeing to a buy out with the Brooklyn Nets, one of the reasons there was so much excitement surrounding the transaction is that without Chris Bosh in the lineup for health reasons, Johnson possessed the ability and know how to step in and handle a chunk of the scoring load Miami would have otherwise lost due to Bosh's absence.
But there is also another part of Johnson's game that goes unnoticed. Through the years Johnson has been noted as one of the better last minute closers in all basketball.
In some cases, yes to some who don't follow the entire league tooth and nail. It's an underrated quality that seemingly fits the overall narrative of the underrated, cool, calm, and collected performer Johnson is.
As the Miami Heat enter Game 7 on Sunday afternoon at AmericanAirlines Arena, Johnson will once again be vital to Miami getting past the pesky Charlotte Hornets who have given them all they can handle as this first round series now finds itself dead even at 3-3.
If history is proven right, Miami is in good hands.
Johnson is a very productive Game 7 performer. While the sample is small, Johnson has come up huge in the postseason in the Game 7's he has appeared in.
May 3rd, 2009: Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat (East First Round)
Johnson came up huge in an elimination game going 6-8 from three point range and contributing 27 points on 10-19 shooting alongside 5 rebounds and 4 assists as a member of the Atlanta Hawks.
May 4th, 2014: Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors (East First Round)
On a Brooklyn Nets roster that was adorned with future Hall Of Fame names like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, it was Cool Joe who put the final dagger in the Toronto Raptors' season at Air Canada Centre by scoring 26 points on 11-25 shooting in 45 minutes of play.
Sure the sample is small but even with Dwyane Wade's heroic 4th quarter performance in Game 6, it's probably a great level of comfort and security for Miami to have another closer in the wings. Johnson is that guy and could prove to be the difference Sunday afternoon.
If he can come through at this critical stage of the season, then he'll do so leaving some still surprised and it will fit the narrative 100%.