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Chris Johnson, Blazers D-League Call-Up, Making Noise In NBA Playoffs

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.

For Friday night, let's look forward to another breakout game from Trey Johnson for the Los Angeles Lakers, Patrick Ewing Jr. of the New Orleans Hornets or Magnum Rolle of the Atlanta Hawks.

As J.P. from Angels in the Outfield once said, "Hey, it could happen."