EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –- Joe Johnson isn’t messing around when it comes to this weekend’s All-Star 3-point contest.
Following Tuesday's Nets practice, Johnson rehearsed by shooting 3-pointers, simulating the contest by going through the racks while being timed. After Johnson left the court, Nets head coach Jason Kidd took a few practice rounds of his own, and did very well in his last go-around (see the video above for the evidence; Knicks fans may not want to watch).
“I'm trying to beat my score,” Johnson said. “When I did [the 3-point contest] when I was in Phoenix, I made seven. I can be happy if I just beat that.”
He even tried adjusting to a new rule that will be implemented in the contest Saturday night. This year, contestants will have the all "money-ball" rack, a rack full of money balls which can be positioned in any of the five stations.
“I wanted [the "money-ball" rack] to be the corner,” Johnson said. “But I don't want it to be the first shot and it can't be the last because I don't know how long it's gonna take me to get [through all the racks]. It might just be the second right on the half. We'll see.”
According to this NBA.com shot chart, Johnson's hot spots on the floor are the left wing and left corner, where he's hitting 49.1 percent and 42.9 percent, respectively.
Johnson said he was “young, inexperienced and just wasn't prepared” when he appeared in the 2004-05 3-point contest, adding that he didn’t take any practice shots beforehand.
“I just felt, you know, I'll go up there and I'll make shots,” Johnson said. “And our last game before the All-Star break was a Wednesday, so we didn't play Thursday. I didn't do nothing Thursday, Friday, Saturday until I got to the 3-point competition. So that's two or three days without touching a basketball. I don't know how you're gonna win a competition like that.”
Paul Pierce said Johnson just has to get himself acclimated to the atmosphere of the All-Star 3-point contest on Saturday night.
“I’ve shot against guys that are better shooters than me, but sometimes you get caught in the atmosphere, the glitz and the glow, the stars and it kind of overwhelms you,” Pierce said. “I don’t expect Joe to really get caught in that, he’s been to All-Star Weekend and he’s participated in a number of events.
“And you’ve just got to take your time,” Pierce added. “You can’t be in a hurry. But you’ve got to practice. You’ve got to get some practice in.”
Johnson said he will go through his normal pregame routine before the 3-point contest.
“Like it's a game situation, we about to play,” Johnson said. “I'm gonna be taped up. Arm sleeve on. I need it to be a game-like situation.”