Johnson on unhappy fans: "We could care less if they show up"

If Joe Johnson's tenure with the Hawks really is near the end, the final chapter could get ugly.

Fans directed some of their boos at Johnson in particular during the Hawks’ 105-75 loss to the Magic on Saturday. He struggled to finish with eight points on 3-of-15 shooting and afterward expressed indifference to fans’ displeasure.

“That doesn’t bother me, and I hope it doesn’t bother anyone in this locker room,” Johnson said. “It’s about us in this locker room. We could care less if [fans] showed up.”

Johnson, the Hawks’ leading scorer and a four-time All-Star, can become a free agent this summer. He has faded during the playoffs, especially in the past six games.

Over that stretch, which includes three games against Milwaukee, Johnson made 30 of 96 shots and averaged 11.5 points. The Hawks lost four of those six games.

Johnson missed his first five shots Saturday and didn’t score until 6:30 before halftime.

“It’s terrible to have a performance like that, especially individuals, [including] myself,” Johnson said. “These guys look to me for guidance, and when you are playing like that, it is almost impossible for us to win. I take a lot of heat for this, a lot of criticism.”

Johnson said he had no explanation for his struggles in the playoffs. He said he feels fine physically.

Hawks ownership has said it wants to re-sign Johnson, though co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. has said the team would "react" once Johnson tests the market. The team's and Johnson's performance in the playoffs both figure to factor heavily into those evaluations.

Johnson said he’s not sure what this postseason will mean for his future.

“I have no idea,” he said. “When July comes, we will figure that out.”

Woodson presses on

Hawks ownership still hasn’t indicated it will offer a new contract to Woodson, whose two-year deal expires after the season. He said he has taken the situation in stride.

“It’s nothing new,” Woodson said before Game 3. “I’ve been through this before a few years ago. It is what it is. I’m still under contract until the end of June, and I’ve still got work to do.”

The Hawks have improved their record in each of six seasons under Woodson, including a 53-29 mark this season. Gearon has said he expects the team to advance far in playoffs.

“I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else, but it is what it is,” Woodson said. “I am sure we will sit down at the end of the season and talk about a contract. I’ve got a two-year deal, and I’ve proudly honored it.

“We’ve had a wonderful season. There are a lot of teams still watching us. We control our own destiny with these next two games at home.”

Nothing personal

Magic center Dwight Howard and Hawks forward Josh Smith, friends since childhood, have had some tussles during this series. In the most notable incident, Howard caught Smith in the face with an elbow during Game 2.

Smith said the roughhousing wouldn’t affect their friendship.

“We’re not out there on the court to be friends,” Smith said. “We both understand that. We know what’s at stake. We are not going to take it lightly on each other on the court. Off the court, it is different.”