Ex-Sun/Big-Time Baller Joe Johnson and His Atlanta Hawks at US Airways Center Tonight
Dear, Phoenix Suns, Do us a favor. Tell us again why you traded guard Joe Johnson four seasons ago? You were on the verge of striking it big, but then dealt the 82-game starter, who averaged 17.1 points per game in 2004-05 for Phoenix, to the Atlanta Hawks for Boris Diaw. A decent, but unnecessary trade.
Until the recent acquisition of Jason Richardson, the absence of Johnson and his three-point ability has haunted the Suns as they've failed in their push toward making it to the NBA Finals. Yeah, Steve Nash is an outside threat, but he's in charge of managing the game, so he can only do so much.
Johnson is averaging 22.3 points per game so far this season for the Hawks. He's also dishing out 6.1 assists a contest and connecting on .357 percent of his three-point shots. Because of his efforts, Atlanta's experienced a rebirth, beginning with last season's first-round playoff exit at the hands of the eventual champs, the Boston Celtics, and continuing today with a stronghold on second place in the Southeast Division.
The 22-14 Hawks are also led by center Al Horford, who's pulling down 8.7 boards per game, and former Shadow Mountain High School and University of Arizona standout Mike Bibby. The 10-year pro isn't slowing down, evident by the point guard's 16.1 points and 5.3 assists per contest.
As for the Suns, they're fresh off two wins, including Friday's 128-100 bombardment of the mighty Dallas Mavericks. In Sunday's 109-103 handling of the Los Angeles Clippers, Amar'e Stoudemire poured in 26 points. It was Shaq who went off on the Mavs, dropping in 25 points and grabbing 10 boards
Johnson and the Atlanta Hawks visit U.S. Airways Center tonight for a matchup against the Suns. Tip's at 7 p.m. TV: My45. Radio: KTAR-620 AM.