With Deron Williams once again sidelined with a sprained ankle, Nets coach Jason Kidd had a message for Joe Johnson before Monday’s game against the Hawks in Brooklyn.

“Jason told me I was going to have to pick it up,” said Johnson, who entered Monday riding a streak of five straight games scoring in single digits, “and he told me in the fourth quarter when I came back in that he wanted me to be very assertive and make plays and kind of take over the game. That’s just what I was trying to do.”
Johnson managed to do just that, scoring nine of his team-high 23 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Nets to a 91-86 win over the Hawksin front of 15,326 inside Barclays Center.

With the win, the Nets now have their second three-game winning streak of the season, one which they’ll try to stretch to four games Wednesday when they host Golden State.

“Winning kind of cures all.,” Johnson said. “We’re riding a three-game winning streak, hopefully it continues. We just have to keep working hard and just stay focused more than anything. We’ve just got to keep building on this.”

It had seemed like the Nets might fail to capitalize on the momentum they generated with wins in Oklahoma City on Thursday and back home against Cleveland on Saturday when Kidd announced before the game Williams would be sidelined for his 12th game of the season because of his perpetually sprained left ankle.

But Johnson came to the rescue, overcoming a recent cold streak and putting his team on his back in the fourth quarter. After checking back in with 6:54 remaining, Johnson hit a 3-pointer to put the Nets ahead for good at 80-78, then added a couple of jumpers before hitting Mirza Teletovic with a pass for a corner 3-pointer to give the Nets an 89-84 lead with 44.6 seconds left that salted away the game.
“We call him Joe Jesus,” said Kevin Garnett. “He might not be there when you call him but he’s there when you need him.”