SPORTS

James Johnson bounces back from hamstring injury to give Raptors a lift in win

02/06/2015 11:16 EST | Updated 04/08/2015 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Within the span of 20 seconds Friday night, James Johnson sprung for a pair of athletic dunks.

There were zero signs of the hamstring injury that had kept the Toronto Raptors forward out of the four previous games.

Johnson came off the bench to spark a massive comeback in the Raptors' 123-107 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, shooting a perfect 7 for 7 from the field for 16 points.

"I was comfortable, man, those guys gave me a lot of easy buckets to start me off, DeMar (DeRozan) saw me cutting a couple of times, and let me see the ball go in got my confidence going," said Johnson.

After the final whistle, Johnson headed for the practice gym to work on his shooting, and arrived in the Raptors' locker-room long after his teammates had dressed and departed.

"I'm just ready to play all the time, that's why I'm going up to the gym after games, trying to stay ready as best I can," Johnson said.

Johnson said he felt "fine" in his first game back.

"We've got the best training staff in the league I feel like. . . We get healed up pretty quick," he said.

Johnson entered the game midway through the second quarter and with the Raptors trailing by nine. He would go 5 for 5 — including three dunks — in the first seven minutes, and when he went to the free throw line, Air Canada Centre fans chanted "M-V-P!"

"You see what he can do," said Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry. "He's a versatile guy, he can play (small forward, power forward, shooting guard, centre), guarded Blake Griffin tonight and guarded CP (Chris Paul) tonight. We need him to play like that and when he's on his game the way he was tonight it's unbelievable."

Johnson added five rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals, and was a part of a Raptors bench that outscored the Clippers 46-29, combining for 22 points in the second quarter alone.

"He showed it," DeRozan said. "He came out and played amazing, guarding Blake, being real efficient, being in the right place at the right time on the court."

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