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LeBron says Nets pretty much quit on Avery Johnson

Jan 30, 2013, 9:08 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics Getty Images

LeBron doesn’t use the word “quit” when he said this. But he might as well have.

LeBron James was asked at shootaround about what was different between P.J. Carlesimo’s Nets — winners of 9-of-12 — and the Nets that were slumping so badly Avery Johnson got fired. The New York Daily News has LeBron’s answer.

“They are not doing anything different. They are playing with more passion, more together, they are playing like they want to play for their coach,” James said. “It sucks that Avery had to take the hit of them not wanting to play at a high level, but that’s what it looks like to me. They haven’t changed their offense, they haven’t changed their defense. They’ve picked it up in intensity level and you can tell they like to play for PJ.”

Unlike the Heat, who play hard every night?

Johnson was an old-school coach — hard on players and often a micromanager — but that tends to wear on teams after a while. Carlesimo is a little looser with the reins and the Nets have responded to that. The other big key was getting All-Star Brook Lopez back and fully healthy.

I think LeBron was simply saying what he saw and thought there, but you know that is going to anger a few Booklynites.

  1. eventhorizon04 - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    Well, what other reason is there for the team suddenly playing better for a coach running similar systems on offense and defense?

    Unless the coach made dramatic alterations to playing rotation, it’s the most straightforward explanation for why a team that was losing before is now winning.

  2. ljl2 - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    he should know about quitting…

    • cordae - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:41 PM

      2013 and you’re still hung up on BS..

      Quit breathing.

    • mytthor - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:41 PM

      Yeah, he should know about quitting!

      After all, he definitely quit on Cleveland, that last game with the team he had 27, 18, and 10. Sissy.

      WTF are these people talking about?

      • jjordannba - Jan 30, 2013 at 10:55 PM

        He did have about 10 turnovers in that game as well though

      • jjordannba - Jan 31, 2013 at 7:01 AM

        No, I’m serious, he really did have about 10 Turnovers

    • ljl2 - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:43 PM

      it was a joke. my bad guys.

    • sportsnut101 - Jan 31, 2013 at 7:36 AM

      Game 5 we know Boston we watched he quit lol. Love that Nike spoof commercial

  3. dirtyjerseysports - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:44 PM


  4. themagicfanguy - Jan 30, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    Well, Lebron does speak from experience.

  5. eflem80 - Jan 30, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    “He should know.”

    – The city of Cleveland

  6. mytthor - Jan 30, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    Freaking people acting like LeBron’s jilted lovers. Ridiculous.

    • savvybynature - Jan 31, 2013 at 1:43 AM

      And the other half act like his lovers. Which’s worse?

      He is a public figure, and doesn’t shy away from being so. Giving the guy grief and saying he quit on Cleveland isn’t really over the line, just immature, bustin’-his-balls kinda stuff. He did leave Cleveland after all, which was his right to do so, and fans have the right to not like it.

  7. cwilson6843 - Jan 31, 2013 at 12:30 AM

    Yall stupid. He wasted 8 good years on that bum a** team. And they asked him how he felt about Brooklyn, he gave his opinion. Haters

    • savvybynature - Jan 31, 2013 at 1:45 AM

      I actually agree with him 100%, but he should know that he doesn’t HAVE to answer every question asked of him.

  8. scalfor3 - Jan 31, 2013 at 1:47 AM

    Go back and watch the tape of that last playoff series LeBron had with Cleveland. Compare it with the energy and passion he plays with now. He quit, no question about it.

    There wasn’t a doubt in my mind when I saw him rip the jersey off as he walked through the tunnel at the end of that game that he was leaving Cleveland.

  9. 24thesho - Jan 31, 2013 at 6:09 AM

    I think maybe P.J. learned his lesson a long time ago with Latrell Spreewell and that chocking incident and not head coaching for a while or as often, or, assitant coaching and feeling he could be head coaching; and he probably made the effort to improve that part of his personality(?). Also, I’m not sure but I think P.J. used to be an “in your face screaming type of coach” and it would appear to me that Johnson was probably the same way(?), maybe, and perhaps in became more and more unpleasant to play for someone like that, especially if they did not fundamentally like “him”. Maybe Tom Tibodeau of the Bulls is from that school (of which I am unsure) but his players seem to really like “him”… a lot. Avery seems like he would be a drag to play for, even if the team is winning and this team just stopped responding.

  10. boctavious - Jan 31, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    If you’re not from Ohio, then you’ll never really be able to understand how heartbreaking it was to watch the decision. It was a betrayal for one of our own, one of the greatest players ever, to leave. So forgive us for holding a grudge. You would do EXACTLY THE SAME.

  11. southpaw77 - Feb 1, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    LeBron, you know all about quitting son. Game 5 in the 2010 playoffs vs Boston he took a total of 14 shots and blamed some phantom elbow injury or was it the Delonte rumors that made him quit.

    LeBron judging who quit is rich, that’s like Nicky Minaj judging talent on American Idol, just ironic and hilarious.

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