Cameron Johnson Issues Chilling Statement on Nets’ Slide

Cameron Johnson, Brooklyn Nets

Getty Cameron Johnson #2 of the Brooklyn Nets.

There is no more room for error for the Brooklyn Nets.

“Big stretch coming up,” said forward Cameron Johnson via the YES Network on YouTube. “It’s going to determine a lot for our future so we got to be locked in for it.”

The Nets’ 119-106 loss to the Orlando Magic leaves them with a tied record with the Miami Heat and barely holding onto their current spot as the six-seed. With just seven games remaining in the regular season, they can ill-afford to drop too many more “winnable” games.

A 3.5-game lead over the 10th-seeded Chicago Bulls is not safe. They have won 10 of their last 15 games as the Nets have gone the other way at 6-9. They were coming off an emotionally charged win over the Miami Heat the night before. But Johnson was not about to use that as an excuse.”

“They kind of controlled the energy of the game,” Johnson said of the Magic. “We were a step behind a little bit, and it’s part of the reason why we lost. …You can’t make any excuses. It’s part of being in the NBA.”

The Nets are 8-13 since the trade deadline and have had to adjust to each other.

But Johnson has also been vocal in his belief that this group could achieve great things once they work through those adjustments.

“Obviously, combining a couple players, there’s some things we have to iron out,” Johnson said, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “But I think the core of what we have, and what we’re trying to do, I think it’s pretty special. We’ve got guys that compete, guys that play hard and you’re gonna start seeing us build this thing together.”

The Nets Have Struggled on Both Ends

If it were just one side of the ball, the Nets might have had an easier time figuring out how to correct it. As it stands, they still point to familiarity as a root cause with just 20 games together so far and the playoffs fast approaching.

“The frustrating thing is just when [shots] don’t go in,” Johnson said via the YES Network’s YouTube channel after the Nets’ loss to the Denver Nuggets on March 19. “It’s life as a basketball player. If it was easy, everybody would be shooting threes and making them. So, you got to weather the storms and continue to shoot.”

Johnson is a 39% career three-point shooter. But he has hit just 34% of his looks since being traded from the Suns.

The Nets have shot 35.3%, good for 21st in the NBA, in that span.

Without getting stops, the Nets cannot get out in transition and trailing threes for Johnson.

“Defense is defense,” he via the team’s official YouTube channel after the loss to the Atlanta Hawks on February 26. “You got to stop the other team. But once we kind of iron out those instances where you’re reacting a quarter of a second later, I think our defense will be a lot sharper. Once that becomes instinct, once we’re planning on that there’s a couple rotations that…I’ve missed just because I’m kind of caught in the middle ground where my mind is reverting back to old habits. But I think it’s getting better.”

Cameron Johnson Returns the Favor to Mikal Bridges

Johnson’s “twin”, Mikal Bridges, heaped praise on his teammate who had 23 points and hit 5-of-8 threes against Miami. He was unable to replicate that against Orlando with 10 points and just 1-of-5 triples adding three rebounds, one assist, and one block.

But he did take a moment to address Bridges whose 44 points were one-shy of his career high.

“He gets one pull-up going left and gets going,” Johnson said. “And you can see him – there’s a look that he’s going to keep getting them up, and he’s been hitting them. So, big credit to him.”

Bridges is a top-20 scorer since the trade deadline giving the Nets plenty to be optimistic about going forward.

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