It would seem the pressure is on J.J for the playoffs.

He faded during the playoffs last spring and dismissed Hawks booing Hawks fans. J.J. came out of last year's free agent summer with the most expensive contract in the league, one that limits the team's financial flexibility going forward. He made his fifth consecutive All-Star game but just finished the least productive and efficient of his six seasons with the Hawks.

J.J. is the Hawks' lead dog, and lead dogs in the NBA usually are judged by how far they take their squads. But J.J. said he doesn't feel that burden.

"Not at all," J.J. said. "In this case, it is not like that. We've got equal opportunity around here. We ain't just depending on one guy. We've got two All-Stars. It's not just going to be all on me. I don't get all of the glory when we win so I don't get to take all the [blame] when we lose."

But as he said during the Orlando series last year, chances are J.J. will "take a lot of heat" if he stumbles and the Hawks fade like in the last two postseasons. Injuries were a factor both times for J.J. This year he had elbow surgery in December and sprained his shooting thumb in March.

Each time he's queried about those injuries, he's gone out of his way to say they won't be an issue.