Nets Notebook: Avery Johnson not panicking over slump

Avery Johnson with Deron Williams.

It most certainly has not been a December to remember for the Nets.

Entering last night’s home game against the Jazz, the Nets had lost six-of-eight games and are averaging 92.5 points per game. Contrast that to November, when the Nets averaged 95.7 points per game and won 11-of-15. Add to the mix Deron Williams’s recent comments about his discomfort with Avery Johnson’s offense, and you have all the elements for frustrated team.

So what is a coach to do?

Stay the course.

“Part of it is that we’re in this microwave Twitter age,” Avery Johnson said in his pregame press conference Tuesday night. “We have to start making our open shots. It’s a matter of time, and defensively, we’re making a step in the right direction.

“Whatever the hubbub is, it’s part of the season. Part of the cycle of the season.”

 While Johnson didn’t absolve Williams from criticism — the coach said the point guard should have made the foul line jumper in Saturday’s 83-82 loss to the Bulls “in his sleep” — he was adamant the Nets need to do a better job making sure their Big Three are in spaces they will be most effective.

“They’re all unselfish guys and they all want to win. The trick is to get them the ball where they function on a high level,” Johnson said. “[We need to do a] better job spacing [and] passing. That’s the trick of it. Get them the ball in the right spots.”


Big Apple Classic announcement

The Barclays Center and the historically black colleges announced on Tuesday in a joint statement that the sides signed a “multi-year agreement” for the state of the art arena to be the host venue for the Big Apple Classic beginning in Dec. 2013.

Howard University, Hampton University, Virginia State University and Virginia Union University are the four schools that will play in the Classic. According to the statement, there will be a college fair and an educational seminar as part of the Classic. Also, a percentage of the profits are earmarked for the non-profit Educational Learning Opportunities.

“We are proud to host a tournament that supports the strong tradition of historically black colleges and universities. Our college basketball events this season have brought a lot of excitement and energy to Barclays Center and we are thrilled to add Big Apple Classic to our lineup for next season,” said Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark.

Among the primary objectives for the Barclays Center was to make it a destination venue for preseason, in-season and postseason college basketball tournaments. Already, it has hosted the Barclays Center Classic, Coaches vs.  Cancer, the Progressive Legends Classic and the Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival. It will also host Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational, Long Island University-Brooklyn home games against Mt. St. Mary’s and St. Francis-Brooklyn,and the men’s and women’s Atlantic 10 Tournament.

Follow Nets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.


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