Friday, February 14, 2014
Joe Johnson: Plenty of time in East
By Mike Mazzeo
Is Joe Johnson worried there might not be enough time for the Brooklyn Nets to get it together for the playoffs?
“We’re in the East. There’s enough time,” Johnson said Friday on ESPN Radio’s “Meet The All-Stars" show, which will air Saturday at 6 p.m.
“I definitely think there’s enough time. Like I said, we’ve got guys who really believe that this thing can really turn around, and we’ve believed that since the start of the season, even when we were 10, 11 games under .500. We still came to work every day believing that each and every game going in, we were going to win. I had no idea that we’d come out and have a five-, six-, seven-game losing streak. Every time we step on the court, no matter who we face, I feel like we’re gonna win.”
Many -- including Johnson’s former coach and current ESPN NBA analyst P.J. Carlesimo -- believe the seventh-place Nets, who are separated from the third-place Toronto Raptors by just 3 1/2 games, are better suited to perform well in the postseason because of their veteran experience and half-court style of play.
Johnson, now a seven-time All-Star, agrees.
“I think we’ve got guys that have been through a lot of the wars, in the trenches, won championships, so I’m sure those guys know what it takes to win,” Johnson said. “And each and every day I come into practice or games or meetings, and I’m always listening in, trying to soak in everything and just still trying to learn.”
Johnson said the team hasn’t given any thought to trying to avoid the No. 7 or 8 seed as to avoid a first-round matchup with the Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat.
He did remark, however, on how the Nets have ended up turning their season around the same way the past two seasons.
“Played in San Antonio, they kill us, and we go to OKC and win. ... It catapults us to a great month of January, and now we’re here,” Johnson said.
Johnson has become known for late-game heroics. He is 6-for-his-last-6 in the final 10 seconds of games in which the score is tied or within three points. Johnson has already nailed two game-winning buzzer-beaters this season. Will Johnson take the last shot in Sunday’s All-Star Game?
“I definitely should get it. If I’m not even in the game, [coach Frank Vogel] should definitely check me into the game, and let’s see what happens,” he said.
Johnson also was asked about first-year coach Jason Kidd.
“He’s grown from training camp to this point, he’s grown each and every day, he’s getting better. More than anything a side to Kidd that I’ve never seen, he’s had to become a bit more stern,” Johnson said. “Because as players, him coming straight from playing to coaching, it’s been a little different. It’s kinda hard to look at him as a head coach and still as a good friend.
“He’s not really our friend anymore,” Johnson said.