Johan Petro was presented with a golden opportunity in Detroit on Friday night and the big man seized it.
JP has been an able-bodied reserve for the Nets all season, filling in gaps and helping the team in whatever way he can. But his time to shine
came against the Pistons.
Johan scored a team-high 16 points in New Jersey's 109-92 loss on Friday night, putting together a valiant effort when the rest of the
"I didn't pay any attention to the score," Petro said. "I just tried to work hard on both ends of the floor and get something positive out of a bad night for the team."
Collectively the Nets shot just 42 percent from the field for the game, but JP was on target
all night. He sank 6-of-10 shots from the field
and all four of his free throws. In addition to his offensive presence, No. 27 added five rebounds and an assist in just 20 minutes of game action.
After playing just less than four minutes in the first half, Johan entered with 7:30 to go in the third and began dropping shots left and right.
Just seconds after entering the game, JP hit a jump shot to pull New Jersey's point total to 44. After a couple of misses, as the Pistons jumped out by 20, Johan continued to fight for points, getting the ball in deep and drawing a foul on Greg Monroe. He sank both free throws to get the Nets offense rolling.
After driving the lane and throwing down a vicous slam with 2:37 left in the quarter, No. 27 added a putback slam off a MarShon Brooks miss. Seconds later he assisted Brooks, who knocked down a three pointer. Johan added two more, sinking a jumper with 2.6 seconds left on the clock. His two dunks and 20-foot jumper in the final three minutes of the third helped cut the New Jersey deficit to 23.
The Pistons pumped their lead back up early in the fourth but that didn't keep Johan from fighting until the very end. No. 27 hit a jump shot with four and a half minutes to play, then, two minutes later he nailed a hook shot. With 40 seconds left in the game, Johan ended his night at the line, where he sank both free throws to put a capper on his best night of the season.
SUCCESS LEADS TO A START
Johan's success Friday night landed him a starting spot on Saturday against the San Antonio Spurs.
The lineup - including JP - was the 15th different starting lineup used by the Coach Avery Johnson this season and it hepled the team get off to a much better start than they did in Detroit. Johan hit a jumper just four minutes into the game and New Jersey only faced a two-point deficit at the end of the first quarter.
Johan scored six points while adding two rebounds and an assist in his first start in a month (Getty Images).
The Spurs started the second quarter off on a 14-4 run to take a 10-point lead, but JP halted the run with a layup to bring the Nets within eight. Still, at halftime, New Jersey was looking at a 15-point deficit.
The Nets jumped out on a 6-0 run to start the third, capped when MarShon Brooks assisted JP on a dunk. New Jersey continued to fight throughout the second half but the Spurs proved to be too much to handle as they ran away with the game in the fourth.
Johan and the Nets have now lost six straight, but have three days off - their longest of the entire season - to recuperate. It comes at the perfect time as the injury-depleted squad faces a tough stretch of six games in eight days ahead.
"We need [the break] for a variety of reasons," coach Avery Johnson told ESPN New York. "We need a day off, we need to lift some weights, and we need rest for our high-minute guys. We need a good practice, which we will eventually get on Tuesday. I mean a really good practice; almost sort of a mini training camp practice. We've been preparing for this time. We've been looking forward to it."
The Nets return to action on Wednesday night as they continue their homestand against the Memphis Grizzlies. Tip-off is set for 7:30 EST and the game will be televised on YES.