On Tuesday, Brooklyn Nets head coach Avery Johnson was a guest on Michael Kay’s radio show on 98.7FM ESPN NY.
Coach Johnson had some interesting things to say about the direction of his team, whether or not he believes the Nets and Knicks have a ”real” rivalry, Joe Johnson’s performance thus far and where the Nets see themselves in the pecking order of the NBA’s Atlantic division.
Avery Johnson on whether or not Monday’s game against Knicks felt like a playoff game:
“It had that type of a vibe. It was great. I think the more games we play like that , if we can be successful and play defense and have some timely offense and win some of those games its gonna be good for us as we move further on into the regular season.. The vibe was great…..obviously the house was packed and we obviously had more fans than Knicks fans, it was just fun to be a part of it.”
On whether or not Nets and Knicks have a rivalry:
“I think its growing into one, i don’t think it will officially be quote unquote a rivalry until you play in the playoffs series. There it is a knock down drag out playoff series but its better than it was in the past. The least two years they have always dominated the headlines and they were in the playoffs last year and we had an abysmal season so, its turning and it will grow more and more when the gems are highly contested like they were last night going into overtime.”
On how long it will take Joe Johnson to find his groove within the Nets offense:
“Before the season I thought it would sometime around mid December on into January he is right on schedule. He has had some games recently where he shot the ball a a little bit better but its just gonna take a little bit more time and he will have some highs and lows here and there. Sometime mid December he is gonna really kick it into gear.”
On going small against the Knicks toward the end of regulation and being hurt by it:
“The trade off would have been if we would have brought Humphries or Reggie back in , then if we are in a free throw situation , then we would have to take Stackhouse out. In that situation, Stack was providing space for us on the perimeter when he got the ball making threes for us. Stack could guard Novak and the trade off would be worth it.”
On Wednesday’s matchup against the Boston Celtics in Boston:
“Boston is gonna be fired up tomorrow especially how we played them at home last time… And they didn’t have Rondo and we didn’t have Gerald Wallace. Both all be playing so it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. For us we are glad to be in the fight - we haven’t even been in the conversation so it s great to be in the fight and take all of the highs that go with higher level of responsibility that goes along with it.”
On whether or not Deron Williams is 100 percent healthy:
“All our players are banged up and nobody is injured but everybody has a knock here or there and they play through. Next week we have two stretches where we have 2 days off between games and t will be a good time for to really get some guys healed up a little bit.”
On playing in Brooklyn:
“I cant ay enough about our building – it is like a palace and the basketball campus that people don’t see is pretty special and on top of it the energy that is in the building for our team and not even negativtiy from the fans even when we dont lay well in stretches . We love it . That is what championship caliber teams have, they have a real home court and and now we have it.”