In 11 chances to play on the second half of a Brooklyn Nets back-to-back this season, Kevin Garnett has sat out in four of them. It’s part of coach Jason Kidd’s plan to rest Garnett during the season, to keep him fresh for the playoffs.
But he’ll play tonight against the Chicago Bulls, as expected:
Kevin Garnett will start tonight.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) February 13, 2014
Today’s contest is a unique situation: Garnett played under 15 minutes against the Bobcats Wednesday night, the game’s got playoff implications, and he’ll get nearly a week of rest heading into the All-Star break.
He’ll match up with Bulls center Joakim Noah, who is, ahem, not Garnett’s biggest fan.
Noah’s spoken out against the Nets center on more than one occasion while Garnett was with Boston. In 2010, he said that Garnett was “a dirty player” multiple times in one quote:
“He’s a dirty player, man,” Noah said after the Bulls’ practice on Sunday afternoon. “He’s a dirty player. That’s messed up, man.”
“I’m hurting right now because of an elbow he threw,” Noah said. “It’s unbelievable. He’s a dirty player. It’s one thing to be competitive and compete and all that, but don’t be a dirty player. He’s a dirty player.”
Then last season, Noah took exception to Garnett again, acknowledging the bad blood:
“(I was) just playing defense,” Noah said. “Just playing sound defense, just contesting his shots. He’s a helluva competitor. He’s always on some bulls—. Always on some bulls—.”
Noah was asked for clarification of what Garnett was doing that upset him.
“Just trying to throw elbows,” Noah said of Garnett. “Cheap shots, just trying to get you off your game. But he’s a vet. He’s been doing this a long time, but it’s all right.”
Noah, who stated in a 2010 interview with ESPN Chicago’s “Waddle and Silvy” that Garnett was “mean … and ugly,” especially to foreign players, was asked if he felt Garnett ever crossed the line.
“Nah,” he said. “When we lose, I feel like he crosses the line. But since we’ve been beating their asses, I’m cool with it.”
“He wants to win and I want to win,” Noah said. “I don’t think it will ever be cool (between us).”
The two have met 21 times in the regular season, with Garnett’s teams winning 13 times. Amazingly, they’ve never met in the playoffs. Depending on how tonight goes, they could set themselves up for that possibility.