A Tar Heels was involved in the most high profile NBA player move this season when Cameron Johnson was part of the deal that sent Kevin Durant to the Suns. The North Carolina alumn had been drafted and spent his first couple seasons in Phoenix, making the NBA Finals with them in 2021.
While he was good enough to be one of the most high profile players included in a trade package for a future Hall of Famer like Durant, he was — on paper — going from a team with title aspirations to one that was taking a bit of a step back and unloaded their biggest names. However, the Nets record and team was still good to get them into the playoffs, and on Monday night, Johnson showed what he could do on the playoff stage.
In Game 2 of his Brooklyn Nets’ series against the Philadelphia 76ers, Johnson went for a team-high 28 points, setting a new playoff career high in the process. He went 11-19 from the field and 5-11 from three, while also finishing with four rebounds, two steals, an assist, and a block. Despite that, the game didn’t quite go as the Nets would’ve hoped, as they fell 96-84 to go behind 2-0 in the series.
While things didn’t end up going in his and the Nets’ favor, Johnson was arguably the story of the first half of the game. He was especially on fire in the first two quarters, going for 22 points, including knocking down four threes, as the Nets got out to a four-point lead over the Sixers at the break. He capped off his half with a ridiculous dunk over potential MVP winner Joel Embiid.
It’s not the first time Johnson put someone on a poster in the playoffs, as he did once do this in his aforementioned NBA Finals appearance:
Philadelphia came out firing to start the second half, and pretty quickly stormed in front. After the 76ers went on a 20-7 run, it was Johnson who hit a big three to stem the tide somewhat.
Unfortunately for the Nets’ sake, the Sixers kept knocking down shots, and eventually Brooklyn ran out of answers. Johnson was involved in on particular play in the fourth quarter where he was blocked by Embiid, but it arguably could’ve been called a foul on the Sixers’ James Harden.
Prior to last night, Johnson’s playoff career high had been 18 points, and he had only just set that mark in Game 1 of this series. The series is now set to shift back to Brooklyn for Games 3 and 4, where hopefully Johnson can put in some more big efforts.