By contemporary standards, remarks by the Mavericks’ Avery Johnson following Dallas’ Game 6 loss to Houston the other night weren’t so spectacular (he’s no J-Will, put it that way), but allusions to Jeff Van Gundy have annoyed the former Knicks coach just the same. From the Dallas Star-Telegram’s Dwain Price.
Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy accused Avery Johnson of “taking some shots” at him during Johnson’s rant after Thursday’s 101-83 loss to Houston.
Without naming Van Gundy, the Mavericks’ coach said: “It surprised me to have a team come in here down 0-2 in the series, and everybody had them written off. Then I don’t hear anything about the Mavs winning three in a row.
“Maybe I need to go crazy. Maybe if I do, you won’t talk about who won and lost Game 6. You’ll talk about the coach who went crazy.”
Van Gundy took Johnson’s comments personally.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’s taking some shots at me,” Van Gundy said. “He can feel free to use my name. He doesn’t have to speak around it.”
Thursday’s Houston Chronicle devoted much space to a story about fans willing to help Van Gundy pay his fine. That coverage also irked Johnson.
“This series is supposed to be about basketball,” Johnson said. “But you read the coverage in the Houston Chronicle.
“Was there any coverage of the games? It was all about things outside basketball.”
On Friday, a much calmer Johnson defended his statements, but added that what happens on the court is what matters in this series.
“So much attention was being drawn to a non-basketball issue than what was going on the court,” Johnson said. “A lot of times when people read that stuff, it tends to sway their judgment.
“We just need to get the record straight, that it’s 3-3, and these teams are really pouring their hearts out on the court.”
Maybe, but Van Gundy said he was even more displeased with Johnson’s comments, considering Van Gundy came to Johnson’s defense when the Mavs coach was fined $10,000 for charging referee Joey Crawford after Game 1.
“I would have just expected more from a coach who — after he did what he did — I tried to support him.”