EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Following Sunday's win over the Orlando Magic -- a win that lifted the Nets' record to 4-2 -- forward Joe Johnson sent out a cryptic message on Twitter, saying, "I'm off this [expletive]!"
Asked Tuesday after practice what he meant by that tweet, Johnson went off on his teammates, calling them a selfish bunch who don't support one another, won't pass the ball, and only have a winning record because they have opened the season with a soft schedule.
"I know it's early, we haven't played anybody, and the Minnesota game [a 98-91 loss last Wednesday], was obviously a game we definitely should have won, and I thought this last game against Orlando [a 104-96 win] was almost a carbon copy," Johnson said. "I just didn't think as individuals, as players, that we all had each other's backs out there. I didn't believe it. And I go back and I watch the tape. I watched film to try to get a different perspective. I mean, my feelings haven't changed.
"Defensively, we help from time to time. Offensively, I just think guys kind of exhaust their options, and then, when there's nothing else for them, then they pass it -- when they have to. But for the most part, we've been very selfish. I mean, 4-2, it's pretty good, but I wouldn't say it's where we want to be right now, against teams that aren't playoff teams, so to speak.
"There's no way you can play like we've played -- you can't go out on the road like that and play against these caliber teams -- Phoenix, Golden State and Portland [the three teams the Nets play on the road trip they begin Wednesday night ]. Those will be double-digit losses."
Johnson leads the Nets in scoring at 19.8 points a game. He averages a team-high 16.0 field-goal attempts and is second to Deron Williams with 3.8 assists a game. He was the last person to talk to reporters before the players left to board their flight to Phoenix. So no one got a chance to respond to his criticism. But coach Lionel Hollins had been asked earlier about Johnson's comment Sunday that the ball movement late in the game against the Magic wasn't good. Hollins disagreed with that assessment.
"I have my philosophy about how the games go," Hollins said. "You could talk to each one of these guys, and each one of them got their own opinion. They're grown men, they're entitled to their opinion. I don't have to agree or disagree. I don't care what they say."
Hollins was already agitated by the way the media handled his benching of center Brook Lopez in the fourth quarter Sunday, saying what he said in the postgame interview was taken out of context.
"I just decided to go a different direction," Hollins said. "Brook understood. The team understood. I explained it to 'em afterward and they all understood. I think too much is made of it that I sat Brook. I'm upset that Brook didn't guard. It wasn't that he didn't guard, it was a struggle for him to guard.
"The guy [Nikola Vucevic] made a lot of jump shots and Brook couldn't get out there and match up with him. And when you have those situations, you gotta do something as a coach to try to give yourself a chance to win. I thought going small gave us the best chance."