Joe Johnson back to his old self

The Joe Johnson with which we’re most familiar starred in the Atlanta Hawks win over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night.

Johnson earned the spotlight in our nightly statistical recap, scoring 30 points on 13-for-18 shooting, the second time in three games that he’s hit that points mark.

Joe Johnson

JohnsonJohnson excelled in isolation. Though he entered shooting 39 percent from the field in isolation plays, Johnson made all four of his shots when he was in such a situation against Toronto, netting nine points and committing just one turnover.

Remember the start of the season when Johnson wasn’t playing up to his usual level?

He’s now scored at least 24 points in seven of his last 10 games, after not doing so in his first dozen games this season. The Hawks are 11-1 this season when Johnson scores 20 or more points.

Kobe watch

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant looked like he was on his way to one of those magical kind of games, after scoring 18 points in the first quarter of an easy win over the Charlotte Bobcats. But Bryant wound up with just 24 points, resting for much of the latter part of the Lakers blowout.

Kobe Bryant

BryantThe Lakers did clear 100 points for the second straight game, the first time this season they’ve been able to do that.

Bryant's 18 first-quarter total was his most in any quarter this season and the second-most by a player this season in a single quarter (LeBron James had 22 points in the 1st quarter at the Nets on January 7).

Knicks finally exceed their norms

The New York Knicks entered Tuesday’s game with the Detroit Pistons shooting just 41.4 percent from the field this season, seconnd-worst in the NBA.

But New York turned things around in its rout, posting season highs in points in the paint (52, 16 more than their season average), field goal percentage (60 percent), and 3-point field goal percentage (50 percent, after averaging 31 percent through 20 games).

The Pistons lost their 16th game in January, the most they've had in any month since March, 1980.

Varejao’s career night

The Cleveland Cavaliers lost a tough one to the Boston Celtics, but Anderson Varaejo finished with his first career 20-point, 20-rebound game.

Anderson Varejao

VarejaoVarejao is only the fifth Cavalier in the last 20 seasons to have a 20-20 game, along with Brad Daugherty (1993), Michael Cage (1996), Shawn Kemp (1998), and Carlos Boozer (2004). Note that LeBron James did not have one in his Cavaliers career.

Varejao is the fifth player with a 20-20 game this season, joining Dwight Howard (who has five), LaMarcus Aldridge, Andrew Bynum, and Kevin Love.

Plus-Minus Note of the Night

Golden State Warriors reserve Brandon Rush had a season-high 20 points and was a plus-8 in a win over the Sacramento Kings.

Brandon Rush

RushRush, who has finished minus-200 or worse in each of the past two seasons, is plus-17 through 19 games this season.

In his last eight games, Rush is a plus-37.