Originally posted on Crossover Chronicles  |  Last updated 5/1/12

Kevin Garnett has a way of getting under his opponent's skin. It is part of his psychological warfare on his opponents. It has what has made him great and what has made him hated.

Ivan Johnson became a household name (sort of) after a big game on national TV. The TNT crew loved his tenacity and grit and the energy he brought to the game. Johnson is not someone who is going to score very many points, but, like Garnett in a lot of ways, he is not going to back down from anyone. And he is going to bring a lot of energy for his team.

Both Garnett and Johnson have reputations. It is what dominated the conversation on TNT before the game. Would Kevin Garnett get under the temperamental and volatile Johnson's skin? To which Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith retorted, you don't mess with "Ivan the Terrible."

So far, the two players seem to have reached a detente before Tuesday night's Game Two. But Johnson is completely aware of Garnett's tactic and what he is trying to do:

"Garnett, he's a dirty player," Johnson told 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. I know we're not going to fight on the court. I can handle it. I can take some hits. I try not to (give hits) because I'm usually the one that gets caught."

Indeed, Johnson does have a bit of a checkered past after behavior issues followed him around and led to his expulsion from the Chinese Basketball Association. But Johnson has found his niche in Atlanta. And he has become an important part of a Hawks bench that gave the Celtics a lot of issues in Game One.

Johnson is going to be dealing with Garnett and trying to win that tug of war in the post. The idea that Garnett is a dirty player is not a new one.

In the April 30 issue of Sports Illustrated, Garnett came in second in a player poll asking which player was the dirtiest in the NBA, garnering nine percent of the vote. According to the report from SI, Garnett was also put ont he list of most annoying players in the NBA.

Sometimes it certainly seems that Garnett's bark is worse than his bight. He has slowed some in age and without the play to back up his never-ending intensity, you can see why he might get annoying and resort to "dirty tricks."

Johnson, who is known for having a short temper and for playing on the edge, has to keep his composure. Part of what Garnett is trying to do is cost the Hawks some points. Johnson cannot get drawn into that.

For now, at least, he plans to do that and continue to take whatever tricks Garnett tries to pull on him.

[follow]

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Greg Hardy struggling to find work, reportedly even in CFL

Jets players told not to discuss Ryan Fitzpatrick situation

Brock Lesnar won't be punished by WWE for UFC drug test

Report: Cowboys to be fined up to $250K for suspended players

Data shows NFL-backed youth program that claimed reduced concussions is bogus

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Odom’s family working hard to get him to go to rehab

Drug dealers adding Olympic rings to cocaine wrappers in Rio

Report: Cowboys have ‘no interest’ in Freeney, Hardy

Report: Bradham was defending girlfriend during alleged assault

Elliott domestic violence case being taken to city prosecutor

Belichick: Brady is not going to lose his starting job

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

Reds 'picking up the pace' on Jay Bruce trade talks

WATCH: Tigers play high stakes game of Rock, Paper, Scissors

Tavares dismisses rumors, wants to stay with Islanders

UFC signs a new broadcast deal in the U.K.

Gonzalo Higuain to Juventus: What does this mean for Serie A?

MLB asks Yaisel Puig to stop wearing his Vin Scully cleats

Study finds link on babies named Shea, Mets’ success

Durant: Being cheered by Oracle Arena crowd ‘felt a little weird’

10 must-watch WWE Network outside-the-ring videos

Is Marchand worth the money he’s reportedly asking for?

Rams sent emails hawking hats to old ticket holders in St. Louis

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker