One day you're getting your finger sized for a championship ring; the next, you're on a plane headed down the standings into the lottery. Anthony Johnson, traded from the Mavericks to the Atlanta Hawks last week, returns to Dallas tonight with a new, and not even close to being improved, perspective.
With the Mavs, Johnson was the third-string point guard on a team that has won 11 straight, 19 in a row at home and is making a run at the best regular season in Dallas sports history. The last time the Mavs lost at American Airlines Center (December 7), you hadn't even started your Christmas shopping. In Atlanta, AJ is seeing how the other half lives. The Hawks are 22-34 and without a prayer of making the playoffs.
With the Mavs, Johnson didn't get off the bench the last three games before the All-Star break. With the Hawks, he played 34 minutes in his first game, producing 17 points and five assists. Hard to believe now, but a decade ago the Mavericks were the Hawks. Dallas has won 11 in a row, but once upon a time they only won 11 games the whole season. --Richie Whitt