Chris Johnson, current back-up center for the Portland Trail Blazers and former NBA call-up from the D-League's Dakota Wizards, lit up my Twitter timeline tonight during his five minutes and 36 seconds of playing time in tonight's 97-92 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 3 of their NBA Playoffs series.
Johnson's box score doesn't seem all that outstanding as the 6-foot-11 big man didn't even attempt a shot while he was on the floor, but the intriguing shot blocker (for a bit of a back-story, read this) lived up to his name as he swatted lay-up attempts from both Dirk Nowitzki and J.J. Barea while also collecting three rebounds before checking out of the game with a +7 in the +/- column.
Even Nate McMillan led off his postgame press conference talking about Johnson's play on Thursday night.
"Y'know, Chris Johnson came out and did a real nice job defensively with Camby being in foul trouble," McMillan told reporters. "He gave us some good minutes in that fourth quarter."
"He was the difference I thought tonight."
Johnson having a big game -- when it matters -- is the reason that I enjoy covering the D-League: Instead of only having one team to get excited for when it's doing well (despite the fact that my Chicago Bulls are doing well), I'm able to enjoy a whole slew of guys' breaking out after following them over the course of the entire season.
As J.P. from Angels in the Outfield once said, "Hey, it could happen."