It looks like former Cal State San Bernardino basketball player Ivan Johnson is back in the good graces of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. It’s amazing what a moment of reflection can do for an individual.
Johnson, a 27-year-old rookie with a temperamental past, has turned into a valuable contributor for a Hawks team that looks very much like a playoff contender despite a plethora of injuries.
But then last week he was sent home from a road trip a couple of days early after a verbal altercation on the bench during a game at Boston.Coach Larry Drew played down the incident and Johnson rejoined the team at practice when it returned from the road trip.
That practice seemed to go well and Drew and Johnson, by all media accounts, said everything was OK again and any issues had been addressed and were a thing of the past.
Well Johnson’s performance in back-to-back games against the Toronto Raptors would seem to indicate that is indeed true. Johnson scored 14 points and snagged seven rebounds with three assists and three steals in a 102-86 loss.
The tonight he followed up with a career-high 21 that came on 9-for-13 shooting from the field and a 3-for-4 from the line. He also had eight rebounds as the Hawks beat the same team they had just lost to, 109-87.
Maybe that couple of days away was a reality check that he might really blowing his chance. Let’s hope so. A lot of 27-year-old rookies don’t get a chance, let alone two.