Despite his Nets facing a 2-1 series deficit following a Game 3 loss in Chicago, Joe Johnson sounded confident both in his team's chances to win the series and in the status of his injured foot.
Johnson scored 18 points and handed out four assists in the Nets' 79-76 loss Thursday night, said despite the Brooklyn offense looking out of sorts for the second straight game, the team's mindset in the locker room remained upbeat.
"Honestly I feel pretty good where we're at. We still have a pretty good chance. It's the first one to four wins, so we're down 2-1 but we can take a little good from this game," Johnson said after Thursday night's game, "and hopefully get better the next one."
One reason Johnson feels confident may be in how Game 3 ended. The Nets trailed 76-62 with less than six minutes left, but closed the game on a 14-3 run and had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer. C.J. Watson's 3-pointer from the right was off the mark, but that final stretch has Johnson and the Nets feeling as though they're not out of the series yet.
"I guess we can take a little good from it," he said. "We did back in the game, we gave ourselves a chance at the end and that's all we expect. So we'll have a different look going into Game 4 and do whatever we can to try to leave Chicago 2-2."
Johnson said the plantar fasciitis in his left foot, which he aggravated in Game 2's loss in Brooklyn, felt fine after the game--he did say it was "a little sore"--but admitted how it felt this morning would be a better indicator of his availability. After receiving a cortisone injection earlier in the day he warmed up on the United Center floor about an hour before tip.
"Yeah, I didn't know how it was gonna feel when I got warmed up. I went out there, gave it a shot and it felt pretty good. Decided to give it a go," he said.
The 40 minutes he played may have been as good an indicator of anything else that he's ready to push through any pain to help Brooklyn get past the Bulls. But facing a 2-1 deficit and another road contest tomorrow, he understands the offense will need to improve its looks and help weather the storm when the Bulls make an inevitable run.
"I think when they made a run we really had to stay composed and keep taking shots that were available for us. The first shot available, a lot of times we've got to take that," he said. "We just gotta move the basketball from side-to-side. We can't play on side, they're too good a of a defensive team to play on one side, so we've got to swing the ball. And we've got to make their defense rotate from side-to-side and get the best shot available.
"We just missed a few shots that could have helped us out. But it's part of it, and we'll get a chance next game to knock those down."