Johnson Unhappy but Not Complaining
Nelson played 23 minutes in the Magic's Game 1 loss to the Lakers, and he did some good and some bad -- not that it mattered much in the 100-75 loss. After the game, there was a lot of talk about whether or not Nelson should have played and if so how much.
Lost in the attention was Anthony Johnson, who just like that went from backup point guard to third point guard. Quite a demotion, and just in time for the NBA Finals. That was Johnson's only DNP-CD of the playoffs.
"Making it to the Finals is a goal that you work for all year and then to play 95 percent of the way and not being able to finish the last five percent is difficult." "It's tough because I only missed two games during the regular season because of injury and just knowing I was going to get my number called every night, it felt good," Johnson said. "But now we're here competing for a championship, it's definitely tough. Making it to the Finals is a goal that you work for all year and then to play 95 percent of the way and not being able to finish the last five percent is difficult.
"At the same time, this is no place to cause dissension. Jameer's been a great teammate since I've known him. All I can really do is support him and Rafer Alston and the rest of the guys and that we go out and get it done collectively as a team and win a championship."
The problem for Johnson is the situation isn't likely to change as the series wears on. At least that's the way he sees it.
"The point guard is the quarterback on the court and there's no way you can realistically play three quarterbacks," he said. "So I liken it to that. I'm the third horse in a two-horse race. All I can do is stay prepared and stay ready and if something happens then take advantage of the opportunity.
"You can't realistically play three point guards and have all three be effective and try to win a ballgame. Especially in the Finals."
If you remember, Johnson had a sideline dust-up with coach Stan Van Gundy earlier in the playoffs, which earned him some criticism. Right now, he's making a conscious effort to stay positive. Or trying to.
"To be in the Finals, there's no place to really try to divide the team or cause dissension or express my disappointment publicly," Johnson said. "So it's tough. I feel like I can help out and I can help us win. So to not have that opportunity that I've had all year long is tough and frustrating."