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As minutes climb, numbers dip for Johnson

NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets swingman Joe Johnson is starting to play too many minutes -- and his production is starting to slip as a result.

In the month of January (eight games), Johnson is averaging 38.4 minutes. During that span, he's shooting just 37.4 percent from the field and scoring 14.8 points per game.

"I'm not 100 percent, but I'm OK," Johnson said Wednesday night after the Nets lost 103-92 to the Memphis Grizzlies, their seventh straight defeat. "I think nobody at this point is 100 percent. We've obviously had a tough load on us, but I'll never make excuses."

Johnson, 33, ranks 11th in the NBA this season in minutes per game (35.7). If he kept at the same pace he has over his past eight games, Johnson would finish second in the league behind only Jimmy Butler (39.8), who is eight years his junior.

Nets coach Lionel Hollins would love to go elsewhere, but he doesn't really have any other options. Still, it might be wise for Hollins to allow Johnson more rest at the end of games that appear out of reach.

"I'm not concerned about it, but it's certainly a real possibility," Hollins said when asked if he believes Johnson is getting burnt out. "But in this league, what are we gonna do? We can play Joe 26 minutes and guys behind him aren't stepping up and playing better. I can play other guys; it's just that when I do that and it doesn't work out, I gotta go back to the guys that we're counting on. That's basketball.

"You look around the league. There's a lot of guys playing a lot of minutes, and it's that time of the season. We're in the middle of January and guys are a little tired, and that's the way it goes."