Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson (7) looks to lead his team past the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Johnson Leads a Small Cast of Arkansas Ties in NBA Playoffs


The 2012-2013 NBA Playoffs kickoff on Saturday launching several teams hopes of post season glory. For many fans the NBA Playoffs will be a wait and see event wondering if LeBron James will be able to capture his second Championship in his soon to be Hall of Fame career.

For others the outside shot of the Brooklyn Nets’ Joe Johnson and Oklahoma City Thunders’ Derek Fisher and Ronnie Brewer winning a ring will be the focal point of the NBA Playoffs.

Statistically Joe Johnson, Arkansas Razorbacks, had the best season of the players with Arkansas ties heading into the playoffs. Johnson finished 36th overall in the NBA in points per game averaging 16.3 while handing out 3.5 assists, and grabbing 3.0 rebounds per contest playing in 72 of the team’s 82 games.

Johnson joined Brooklyn during the off season and quickly helped turn around a troubled franchise. The Nets finished fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 49-33 record. Brooklyn will face the Chicago Bulls, the No. 5 seed with the first game set to tip off Saturday night at 8 p.m. EST.

Fisher, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, returned to the Oklahoma City Thunder halfway through the season after playing nine games with the Dallas Mavericks in the first half of the 2012-2013 season.

After suffering a knee injury and requesting a release from his contract while playing with the Mavs, Fisher returned to his home in Los Angeles to rehab his injured knee then was signed by the Thunder playing in 24 games down the stretch.

Seeing a smaller role with the top team in the Western Conference, Fisher’s stats dropped but his opportunity to win a sixth NBA Championship increased dramatically. Fisher’s points per game dropped from 8.6 to 4.1 per game after the transition yet the Thunder are the odds on favorite to meet the Miami Heat for a second straight year in the NBA Finals.

Joining Fisher in Oklahoma City is former Arkansas Razorback Ronnie Brewer Jr. Brewer was a mid-season acquisition from the New York Knicks by the Thunder. Added for his defensive abilities come playoff time, Brewer has also seen a reduced role while in OKC but his role should expand with the primary objective of stopping the top scorers of their foes throughout this year’s playoffs.

Brewer appeared in 14 games for the Thunder after playing in 46 for the Knicks. His scoring output dropped from 3.6 points per game to 0.9 while sharing the ball with high scoring players Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

The Thunder wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the NBA Playoffs winning 60 games during the regular season. Fisher and Brewer open their postseason on Sunday against the No. 8 seed Houston Rockets.

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE

MIAMI HEAT (1) VS. MILWAUKEE BUCKS (8)

Game 1 @Miami: Sunday, 7 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 2 @Miami: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV

Game 3 @Milwaukee: April 25, 7 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 4 @Milwaukee: April 28, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

x-Game 5 @Miami: April 30

x-Game 6 @Milwaukee: May 2

x-Game 7 @Miami: May 4

NEW YORK KNICKS (2) VS. BOSTON CELTICS (7)

Game 1 @New York: Saturday, 3 p.m. ET, ABC

Game 2 @New York: Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 3 @Boston: April 26, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

Game 4 @Boston: April 28, 1 p.m. ET, ABC

x-Game 5 @New York: May 1

x-Game 6 @Boston: May 3

x-Game 7 @New York: May 5

INDIANA PACERS (3) VS. ATLANTA HAWKS (6)

Game 1 @Indiana: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 2 @Indiana: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV

Game 3 @Atlanta: April 27, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

Game 4 @Atlanta: April 29

x-Game 5 @Indiana: May 1

x-Game 6 @Atlanta: May 3

x-Game 7 @Indiana: May 5

BROOKLYN NETS (4) VS. CHICAGO BULLS (5)

Game 1 @Brooklyn: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

Game 2 @Brooklyn: Monday, 8 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 3 @Chicago: April 25, 8:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV

Game 4 @Chicago: April 27, 2 p.m., TNT

x-Game 5 @Brooklyn: April 29

x-Game 6 @Chicago: May 2

x-Game 7 @Brooklyn: May 4

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (1) VS. HOUSTON ROCKETS (8)

Game 1 @Oklahoma City: Sunday, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 2 @Oklahoma City: Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 3 @Houston: April 27, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Game 4 @Houston: April 29

x-Game 5 @Oklahoma City: May 1

x-Game 6 @Houston: May 3

x-Game 7 @Oklahoma City: May 5

SAN ANTONIO SPURS (2) VS. LOS ANGELES LAKERS (7)

Game 1 @San Antonio: Sunday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Game 2 @San Antonio: Wednesday, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 3 @Los Angeles: April 26, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Game 4 @Los Angeles: April 28, 7 p.m. ET, TNT

x-Game 5 @San Antonio: April 30,

x-Game 6 @Los Angeles: May 2

x-Game 7 @San Antonio: May 4

DENVER NUGGETS (3) VS. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (6)

Game 1 @Denver: Saturday, 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Game 2 @Denver: Tuesday, 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 3 @Golden State: April 26, 10:30 p.m. ESPN2

Game 4 @Golden State: April 28, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT

x-Game 5 @Denver: April 30

x-Game 6 @Golden State: May 2

x-Game 7 @Denver: May 4

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (4) VS. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (5)

Game 1 @Los Angeles: Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Game 2 @Los Angeles: Monday, 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 3 @Memphis: April 25, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 4 @Memphis: April 27, 4:30 p.m. ET, TNT

x-Game 5 @Los Angeles: April 30

x-Game 6 @Memphis: May 3

x-Game 7 @Los Angeles: May 5

“x” = if necessary

 

Tags: Arkansas Razorbacks Brooklyn Nets Derek Fisher Featured Football Joe Johnson NBA Playoffs Oklahoma City Thunder Popular Ronnie Brewer Jr