Tyler Johnson’s Heat teammates help him refocus and not mope about missing shots

 

 

Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez tries to block a shot by Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson during the Heat's win Friday. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez tries to block a shot by Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson during the Heat’s win Friday. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

NEW YORK – Tyler Johnson needed a hug, and a wake up call.

He got it from his teammates.

The Heat’s guard has been slumping lately, unable to find a rhythm from outside and even failing to convert near the basket on puts backs and drives.

And Johnson’s body language painted the picture of a player in a funk early in Miami’s 108-99 win at Brooklyn on Friday.

“I’ve been a little bit frustrated over the last couple of games just not making shots,” Johnson said. “They made me understand that, of course I score, but that’s not what I do anyway. I’m a player that can affect a game in many different ways. They made sure I got back to that because I was starting to get back to that just focusing on how poorly I was shooting it.”

So after starting making just three of his first 11 shots, Johnson made the shot that pulled the Heat back into a tie with 23 seconds remaining, their first since early in the second quarter on an offensive rebound and put back.

The basket seemed to light a fire. Johnson was aggressive and all over the floor in the fourth quarter. He played all 12 minutes and scored six points on 2-of-4 shooting as Miami held off the Nets for its 13th consecutive win. He finished with 18 points.

“There’s ups and downs in this game,” Johnson said. “I’m lucky to have good teammates to come in and put me back in my place.”

Johnson’s slump actually dates back six games, or since returning from a five-game absence because of a shoulder injury.

During that stretch he is shooting .349 (22-of-63) and just .133 (2-of-15) on 3s. In the first 40 games he was shooting .431 and .379 from distance.

To his credit, though, Johnson is not even thinking about using rust as an excuse.

“The shot’s not falling,” he said. “I missed some chippies. I think every player goes through that in the league. A lot of guys make excuses for it. Mentally I got to stay in it and my teammates do a great job of making sure we’re all grounded and we understand it’s bigger than whether we’re making or missing shot.”

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