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Joe Johnson receives warm welcome during first game back in Utah

Houston Rockets forward Joe Johnson was showered with warmth upon his arrival at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Utah, the place he called home for the last season and a half.

Upon his return, Johnson was met by staff and players, just as cordially as he had when he was playing with the team, all understanding of his desire to win hardware before calling it a career.

“I wasn’t trying to leave on bad terms, you know what I mean?” Johnson said, according to Kyle Goon of The Salt Lake Tribune. “We had a good run. Obviously things shifted to where they’re playing more young. They’ve got a good core here. So, you know, i just felt I wanted something a little different.”

Johnson is now playing under his former coach in Mike D’Antoni once again, “like [they] never left.” Who seems to feel the same way after spending more than 12 seasons apart.

“He was one of the strongest, always took care of his body, never seemed to get tired, was durable,” D’Antoni said. “Now I hear he’s into yoga, so he could play another three or four years easily.”

Iso Joe poured in seven points, four rebounds, and two assists in Houston’s 96-85 win, a wild change from the Rockets’ usual high-paced tempo on the basketball court.

In one particular second-half sequence, Johnson backed down Alec Burks in isolation, once again true to his nickname, hitting a smooth turnaround floater from five feet out — a classic play for the 17-year veteran.