"'Going Nova"-v: To accelerate your game in an explosive manner, to the point where you are shining so bright it's hard to see anything else happening on the floor.
(Ex. "Well, the Blazers hung in there, but then Kobe went Nova, and it was all over.")
The Atlanta Hawks were hanging, but that's not enough versus a team like the Celtics. With Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo, along with the best defense in the league this season, just chipping along isn't going to get it done. They needed someone to go off, someone to push the Hawks over. After all, this was essentially a matchup of individual athleticism versus team concept and concentrated veteran star power. So naturally the only way Atlanta was going to even the series was if a player were to raise his game, to explode. And someone did.
Joe Johnson went Nova.
Scoring 20 points in the fourth quarter is the stuff of legend. To do it in the playoffs, on an 8th seed against a #1 seed, no, THIS #1 seed, is EPIC Nova. And it wasn't a quiet, Tim Duncan Nova, either. It was a stunning combination of floaters, jumpers, and mid-slash faders. All of this punctuated, of course, by the absolutely sick, mind-melting, ankle-breaking, tell-Daddy-you-love-him-now-sit-down-and-let-him-roll-them-bones, crossover into the step back three.
This kind of offense is rare, it is beautiful, and it's part of what makes this game so transcendent for small moments in time.
Joe Johnson just went from "that guy on my friend's fantasy teams who scores all those points for Atlanta" to "the always-deadly Joe Johnson."
That's Nova, baby. That's Nova.