Seven-time NBA All-Star Joe Johnson made his return to NBA courts for the first time in three years after signing with the Boston Celtics. "We know what he is," Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. "Everybody said it as they walked in [the locker room]: 'Joe's a bucket.'
That's what he is and he's always been, and so that's not gonna change." Johnson suited up for the Celtics on Wednesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Johnson scored the final points of the Celtics' 111-101 win over the Cavaliers.
"It's amazing to be back here 20 years later," Johnson said. "It's still surreal to me." Johnson, 40, admitted he wasn't high on his chances on getting another shot in the NBA. "I wouldn't say give up, but I didn't have high hopes," Johnson said.
"My son's 14, so he keeps me in the gym. We work and work and work, and I always talk to him [and say], 'Just work. Even when you can't see what's next, you just gotta continue to work.' "
Johnson entered the game with 1:57 remaining
"I heard them obviously," Udoka said.
"I would have liked to get him in sooner, except the lead got down to 12 or so, but that was the plan to get those guys some run, if possible." Celtics star Jaylen Brown is confident Johnson can help the team. "He's still got a lot in the tank if you ask me," said Brown, who scored 34 points to lead Boston and grew up in Atlanta watching Johnson star for the Hawks.
"I've watched him in the Big3, I've watched him before that, and I watched him growing up and he still look like he's got something left in the tank so I'm happy to have him on board, to hear his voice, his advice ...
I think it's great." Johnson's abilitey to score in isolation earned him a nickname "Iso Joe." "This is a pick-and-roll league," Johnson said. "Once you can master the pick-and-roll and get to your spots -- especially your sweet spots -- it's hard to stop guys like that.
Especially when you can make plays out of that. I never lose sight of that, or lost sight of that. Just from watching the game, I see how they play in the pick-and-roll. If I'm in the pick-and-roll, you either gotta live or you're going to have the midrange game or the floater. "Luckily," he added with a laugh, "it went down."