Heat forward James Johnson calls 7-9 start ‘code red right now’
After looking to get in his comfort zone as he did last season, forward James Johnson admits the Miami Heat’s 7-9 start isn’t anywhere near his expectations. Matter of fact, the 6-foot-9 Swiss army knife took it a step further, saying the team was in “code red” at this point.
“We’re no longer twitching the needle,” Johnson said after Wednesday morning’s shootaround session, according to Anthony Chiang of The Palm Beach Post. “This is code red right now. We don’t have no time to wait. This is where the playoff games or games to get in the playoffs reside right now.”
Other teams in the East like the league-leading Boston Celtics and the Detroit Pistons have gotten off to fast starts to the season, giving them a massive leg up over teams that are still finding their sea legs amid the major shuffle of talent throughout the NBA offseason.
The Heat kept its core intact, choosing instead to give contracts to Dion Waiters, Josh Richardson, and Johnson himself, adding Kelly Olynyk in the wake of a massive signing for the Boston Celtics in Gordon Hayward.
Miami had managed to turn their season around a full 180 after starting 11-30 in the first half, breaking into a 30-11 second-half to miss the playoffs by a mere tiebreaker to the Chicago Bulls.
The Heat have lost three of their last four and five of their last nine games, an impasse Johnson is looking to get through the old school way.
“We don’t necessarily need the excuses that we was making,” Johnson said. “Guards, bigs. We just set the bar high during the last two days of practice and we just kept running and running and running until you didn’t need that excuse that you were using.”
The team’s chances don’t get any better today, as they’re slated to face the NBA-leading Celtics at home, who are riding an unforeseen 16-game win streak after taking down the Dallas Mavericks in overtime on Monday.