The Little General – Avery Johnson talks about the Nets-Knicks

Updated: January 20, 2014



Avery Johnson, “the little general”, sat down with Stefan Bondy of the NY Daily News to talk about his Brooklyn Nets experience and the rivalry between the Nets and Knicks as well as other Nets topics.

Johnson was fired last season by Mikhail Prokhorov after he started 14-14 and assistant P.J. Carlesimo took over and helped the Nets get to 49-33 and into the playoffs.

He is currently an analyst at ESPN and has no idea when he will coach again so he is just enjoying his time watching his son play his last season in high school right now.

Here are a few questions answered by Avery:

How do you see this (afternoon) playing out? Now that it shifts to the Garden, it’s going to be pretty interesting to see if the Knicks can get off to a good start like they did in Brooklyn. And it’s also going to be if they can dominate from the 3-point line like they did in the first meeting. Shumpert played one of his better games of the year. Obviously Carmelo is always dangerous. Bargnani had a really good game on both ends of the floor. So it’ll be pretty interesting to see if the offense gets going the way it did in game 1 of the series. And for the Nets, they’ve been playing really great basketball recently, a difference for the new year. They slowed the game way down, which I think was a smart move and has given them an opportunity to be more efficient offensively and defensively. Kirilenko has been such a huge part of their recent surge, having a person that can be versatile and play defense and just a guy that’s crafty on the floor. I think that has been great for the Nets.

As somebody who was recently in this organization, top-to-bottom, how important is it to be better than the Knicks? Like I said when I was coaching there, I think the bigger goal was to win a championship. But now that I’m in the media, I can say that it’s very important to beat the Knicks and dominate that local audience and win the hearts of the local fans there and the fanbase. And I know from the Nets’ standpoint, it was always a big deal to try to win over some of the Knicks fans and bring them over to Brooklyn. So I’m sure it’s important to them. And it’s also important because it’s still a team that is quite a few games over .500.

How tough was it to see Brook Lopez go down again? It was terrible. Brook was one of my all-time guys. When you look at players you’ve played with or coached, Brook is in my fab-3. Just guys that I’ve coached. Just an unbelievable personality and very coachable. My heart just. ..I was crushed for the kid because I know how hard he has worked and I knew when I first started coaching him I told him he was going to be an All-Star if he just worked at a few things and it was great to see him being part of the All-Star team last year. But now to see him with this big setback, I really feel bad for him. He’s just a great kid.

I love what he has to say about Brook and how much he really cares about the big man.

He was pretty open in this interview although the only part I don’t agree with is the idea that the Nets want to convert Knicks fans to Nets fans.

That is not the case at all and any real Nets fans knows this and doesn’t want any bandwagon Knicks fans following our team at any point.


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