Joe Johnson is in Nets’ starting lineup
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
CHICAGO – Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Johnson is in the starting lineup for tonight’s Game 3 against the Chicago Bulls, but Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo isn’t sure how much Johnson can play.
Like Bulls center Joakim Noah, Johnson is bothered by a painful bout of plantar fasciitis. For Johnson, the pain is in his left heel.
“It’s part of the game. He’s been battling it, and that foot has been a problem. He’s very, very important to what we do,” Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo said before it was announced Johnson was starting. “If Joe can play, we’ve just got to evaluate and see what he looks like and how much he’s going to be able to give us and just go from there.”
Backup guard C.J. Watson will absorb Johnson’s minutes if Johnson can’t play his customary 30-plus minutes per game.
“We didn’t anticipate this. We thought it was going the other way until I guess the first quarter the other night. We’ll just deal with it,” Carlesimo said. “They’re dealing with things also. Hopefully, he’s going to be able to play if not tonight, Saturday or soon. Hopefully he’ll be able to play somewhat the way he’s capable of playing. It’s going to be difficult.”
With their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series even at 1-1, Carlesimo has trust in team that it will regain homecourt advantage in one of the next two games in Chicago. The Nets were 23-18 on the road this season — the seventh-best road record in the league. While the Nets slipped a little offensively while on the road, they were a tad better defensively on the road.
“The fact that we played well on the road all year gives us reason to be confident. … The road has been good to us, so hopefully it will continue to be,” he said.