Avery deflects Coach of the Month praise

Avery Johnson called being named NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for October and November "a special honor."

"It's good," Johnson said Tuesday, "but it has little to do with me and more to do with those other folks: ownership, Billy (King), our players and our assistant coaches. And also the great fans that show up in the Barclays Center when we play here and provide us with a really good home-court advantage."

Johnson's Nets went 11-4 in November. They ranked second in the league in scoring defense, allowing just 90.4 points per game.

Johnson has gotten the most out of players like Andray Blatche and Jerry Stackhouse, which has allowed the team to overcome the early-season shooting struggles of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.

"Coach Johnson has been a great leader and motivator," Joe Johnson said. "Every day he comes in here with a great attitude and he definitely keeps us on our toes. He's a great 'players' coach' that you can go to anytime and sit down and talk to and he gives great advice."

• Avery Johnson said his goal coming into the season was to stay away from playing any sort of zone defense.

"I've used (zone defense) in the past as a tool, and maybe sometime in the future we may use it," Johnson said. "We like our full-court press a lot more when we go to that instead of our zone half-court defense. Everything's always on the table, but we take pride in being a good man-to-man defensive team."

• Avery Johnson continues to say the Nets can't afford to take anyone lightly -- especially not the Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder.

"The good teams, they get up for the great teams. The great teams get up for everybody," Johnson said.

As far as this Heat-Thunder back-to-back is concerned?

"It's a challenge. It's one we embrace," Johnson said. "At one time, it would have been a horror film."