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Celtics

Hawks’ Ivan Johnson Calls Kevin Garnett ‘A Dirty Player’

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Ivan Johnson #44 of the Atlanta Hawks loses control of the ball as he goes to the basket against Greg Stiemsma #54 of the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs on April 29, 2012 at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)

Ivan Johnson #44 of the Atlanta Hawks loses control of the ball as he goes to the basket against Greg Stiemsma #54 of the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs on April 29, 2012 at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) — Being the second-most popular player named Johnson on his own team, Hawks rookie Ivan Johnson needs to employ some strategy in order to be discussed during a playoff series. For the Hawks’ first-round matchup with the Hawks, Johnson is going after Kevin Garnett.

“Garnett, he’s a dirty player,” Johnson said, according to the Boston Herald. “He gives me a lot of elbows, and I can handle that. … I was prepared for that. I already knew how KG was going to come at me. They’re a whole bunch of mess-talkers.”

The 28-year-old rookie forward averaged 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in his 16.7 minutes per game this season. Most popular for being banned for life from the Korean Basketball League for making an obscene gesture toward an offical, he’s making his mark on his first NBA playoff series not by his performance on the court (four points, five rebounds in Game 1) but with his comments about Garnett, a future Hall of Famer.

“I know we’re not going to fight on the court,” Johnson told the Herald. “I can handle it. I can take some hits. I try not to [retaliate] because I’m usually the one that gets caught.”

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