Joe Johnson and his teammates were booed after game three. Well deserved, by the way, they quit. After the game Johnson said of the fans the kind of thing that a free agent to be says on his way out of town:
“It’s about us in this locker room. We could care less if they showed up or not.”
Today, Johnson gave the politicians backtrack — sort of taking it back without actually apologizing. From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
“It was tough. I don’t think we’ve heard the boos like that in the five years since I’ve been here. When I first got here, man, there were probably like 100 people out there in those seats. I won’t say everybody is a diehard, but they’ve shown us a lot of support over the years. In the heat of the battle you tend to say a lot of things. But it was tough, man. I was a little [ticked] off but I am over now.”
The Hawks (and Mike Woodson) supporters have been going to this card recently — “remember how bad it was five years ago?” It’s faulty logic. Yes, things are better for the Hawks than they were five years ago, but that is different than saying this team lived up to its potential. This team did not fully take advantage of its skills and players, especially in the playoffs.
And part of that falls on Johnson, brought in to lead this team, but really suited to be a number two on a top title team. He is Pau Gasol or Jameer Nelson, a really dangerous second guy, but not a night in, night out team leader. The Hawks have gone to Iso-Joe offense a lot these playoffs, and it has let them down.
The Hawks need to make a change. These comments just make it easier.