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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Dennis Johnson: "Airplane" Flew to Three NBA Titles

Dennis Johnson, perhaps the best defensive guard of his era, played on three NBA championship teams. Larry Bird called him the best teammate he ever had. Although Johnson did not shoot a great percentage from the field, he had an uncanny knack for hitting clutch shots in big games. He was one of those rare players who was consistently more productive in the playoffs than he was in the regular season.

Here is a look at Johnson's great career:

Dennis Johnson: "Airplane" Flew to Three NBA Titles

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posted by David Friedman @ 6:10 PM

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3 Comments:

At Wednesday, March 19, 2008 3:44:00 PM, Blogger madnice said...

A disgrace he is not a HOFamer. Hes better than Dumars, who got in the Hall before him, and gets no respect. There isnt a guard today who was better than DJ. (except Bryant and its just because Bryant scores more. Bryant definitely isnt a better defender) Early in his career he was Walt Frazier. Sick defense and he could score. He had no weaknesses. When I heard he passed I just stopped doing what I was doing for like 10 minutes. He was great and I hated Boston. Definitely is missed.

 
At Thursday, March 20, 2008 3:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Outside of the winner in Game 4 in 1985, and the lay-up (that anyone would have hit, preferably left-handed) in 1987, name a "big game" that saw Johnson hit a big shot.

If you can't, let's lose the hyperbole.

 
At Thursday, March 20, 2008 4:44:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Anonymous:

The "clutch" aspect of the layup in 1987 is not determined by the difficulty level of the shot or which hand Johnson shot it with but rather his awareness to cut to the hoop at that moment. If he had reacted just a split second more slowly then Isiah (who hustled back into the play after his gaffe) may have blocked the shot.

As for hitting clutch shots in big games, in the article I give the stats that show that Johnson consistently elevated his game in the playoffs and the Finals. A "big shot" is not only a game-winner like the two famous ones in 1985 and 1987 but also a shot when your team needs a basket earlier in the game. Johnson has a well-earned reputation among teammates and opponents alike for his clutch play.

 

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