Brooklyn Nets Johnson smiles on the bench after leaving their NBA basketball game against Oklahoma City Thunder, in Oklahoma City

Joe Johnson says he shouldn’t have been laughing on bench during blowout loss to Knicks earlier in season


The last time the Knicks played the Nets, they dealt Brooklyn a 29-point loss back on April 2 that was decided well before halftime.

New York led by more than 30 points at times in the second half, leading to extended garbage time that apparently went on too long for two of the Nets’ veteran players.

Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson were shown during the nationally televised contest having some laughs while on the bench late in the game, and Jeff Van Gundy called them out for their less than professional behavior during the broadcast.

In advance of the final meeting between the two teams this season, Johnson said that Van Gundy was right.

From Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

“(Van Gundy’s) probably right. We shouldn’t have been laughing,” said Johnson, who was spotted on television smiling and laughing with teammate Paul Pierce multiple times over the course of 3½ minutes in garbage time of a 29-point defeat at the Garden two weeks ago. “I can’t remember honestly what Paul said, but it had to be super funny for me to laughing and for us to losing the way we were losing.”

The scene on ESPN prompted Van Gundy, a television analyst, to declare on the air, “I don’t think it’s too much to ask that you’re taking it seriously.”He later said it was insulting to Nets fans and was “a horrible look for the league.”

Van Gundy wasn’t appalled or anything, and was merely pointing out that if any die-hard Nets fans were still watching, the reactions of Pierce and Johnson were less than desirable. While it was really just a minor transgression, it’s still nice to see that Johnson recognizes it.

Stan Van Gundy rips ‘selfish’ Pistons

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The Pistons had just 19 assists – to 22 turnovers – in their 93-83 loss to the Nets last night.

Stan Van Gundy was none too pleased.

On offensive problems:

I told them in there – that was the first thing – we’re not playing together at all. I thought it was a very selfish performance, and guys wouldn’t just pass the ball to open men. They wanted to see if they could take one more dribble to get their own shot, so the passing angles were gone. I just thought we forced play after play after play. We’re not willing to move the ball

On Reggie Jackson, who scored seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with six assists and six turnovers, and was coming off Achilles soreness:

He was not good at all. He was forcing everything.

On injuries to point guards – Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake – hindering the team’s flow in practice and that carrying over to the game:

We could probably make a lot of excuses for our guys, but we were selfish.

Van Gundy is clearly trying to send a message, and the preseason is the best time to do it.

But it’s somewhat troubling he had to do it after this game.

Eight of the 10 Pistons who played against Brooklyn project to make the regular-season rotation. Joel Anthony played over Aron Baynes, and once healthy, Blake could challenge Spencer Dinwiddie to become back up point guard – at least until Jennings is ready. Otherwise, Detroit – with Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Andre Drummond, Jodie Meeks, Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver – looked similar to its opening-night lineup.

Van Gundy is blunt, but he doesn’t tell the media things he hasn’t already directly told his players. They appreciate that.

He’d appreciate them getting this message.

Report: Dwight Howard didn’t have offseason surgery

Dwight Howard
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Dwight Howard said he played with a torn MCL and meniscus in the Western Conference finals – pretty shocking news that few knew what to make of.

So, um, did he have offseason surgery?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Howard obviously feels great about his health now, so maybe this was the right course.

We’ll never how Howard would have performed if fully healthy, but he averaged 14.4 points and 14.4 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game against the Warriors during the conference finals. How bad could the injuries have been?