Friday, January 31, 2014
Johnson on ASG: It never gets old
By Mike Mazzeo
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson doesn’t care that some people -- including Toronto Raptors forward Patrick Patterson -- feel isn’t deserving of his All-Star selection.
Johnson (15.7 ppg, 44.3 fg pct) was chosen as a reserve by the Eastern Conference coaches Thursday night, which prompted Patterson to tweet, “Comparing Kyle Lowry & Joe Johnson.. Kyle numbers are better & he's on a winning team. So how is he not the obvious choice? #Raptors”
“I don’t care what they think,” said Johnson, now a seven-time All-Star, before Friday’s morning shootaround. “It is what it is. You can say whatever you want. What’s done is done, and it’s over with.”
Lowry (16.8 ppg, 7.6 apg) and Lance Stephenson (14.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 5.4 apg) may feel like they got snubbed, but Johnson is happy he’s headed to New Orleans.
“I’m very honored. It’s a privilege, it’s very prestigious to play in the All-Star game,” Johnson said. “To get selected by the coaches means that much more. It kind of just shows where we’ve come from as a team. It’s a tribute to the coaching staff, the players, the whole Nets’ organization. Just a month ago this couldn’t have happened, so to be selected it’s definitely an honor for us as Nets.”
Johnson, who has hit two game-winning buzzer-beaters this season, was somewhat surprised to be selected.
“I wasn’t expecting it, honestly,” he said. “I didn’t even get a chance to watch it. I was actually asleep. And I found out about an hour, an hour and a half later. But I’m happy and I enjoy it. Every time I’ve been, I’ve had a great time and I really enjoyed the whole weekend.”
Johnson says being an All-Star never gets old.
“I asked guys like KG [Kevin Garnett] and Paul Pierce who have been 15, 16, 17 years (KG has been 15 times, Pierce 10) and it never gets old because it’s kind of a time when you can rest, but you also get to see a different side of guys who you’ve competed against, so it’s always fun,” he said.
How ironic is this? Johnson made his first All-Star team in 2007 as an injury replacement for none other than his current coach, Jason Kidd.
“I was in Atlanta, we weren’t in the playoffs, and I was averaging like 25 (points) a game,” Johnson said. “And I got rewarded when Kidd got hurt. It’s just the nature of the beast.”
Johnson hit Brooklyn’s biggest shot of the season when he beat Friday night’s opponent, the Oklahoma City Thunder, at the buzzer Jan. 2. The Nets have gone 9-2 since, turning their 2013-14 campaign around. During a recent six-game stretch in January, Johnson averaged 24.5 points on 51.4 percent shooting.
“I think it’s well-deserved,” Kidd said. “Joe’s been consistent for us all year, so it’s great to have Joe represent the Brooklyn Nets.
“He’s stepped up big for us when things were tough. He put everybody on his back and carried the team.”