MIAMI, FL. -- Deron Williams had just banked in a prayer three-point attempt as the third-quarter buzzer sounded, cutting the Heat lead to 79-66 with 12 minutes left and giving the Nets a sliver of an opening.
But Nets coach Jason Kidd elected to sit his starters for most of the fourth quarter, playing Kevin Garnett for just 76 seconds and sitting Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Paul Pierce entirely.
Kidd said he wanted to see if the bench could get them into single digits. "I wanted to give those guys, the starters, a break," Kidd said at the podium just after the loss. "Give them some rest. When we went with that group, I thought that group could make some shots, but also get some stops and get it to where it’s under 10, and then go from there. But it never happened."
Kidd defended the decision Wednesday afternoon at the team's practice. "We all trust one another and that is what this team is all about," Kidd told reporters. "We are a team, it is not an individual. It is not just a head coach. Not just a 19-year player. We are the Brooklyn Nets, and that is what we stand for, trusting one another. When things are tough and things are good, we continue to rely on one another and that is what makes this a special group."
Players defended their coach for doing what he felt was right, though they all agreed they wanted to play. "We’d love to get back out there, But that was coach’s decision," Williams said after the game. "He probably just felt like 20 points is tough to overcome at that point in the game. But as a player you definitely want to be out there."
Garnett kept it sharp and concise when asked about returning to the game in the fourth for less than 90 seconds. "Kidd told me to sub for Mason. And then he subbed me out. Following directions, dog, following directions."
But fans didn't much like Kidd's strategy:
— Tyler Young (@TylerMYoung2) May 7, 2014
— Teeroy (@GTroj79) May 7, 2014
Jason Kidd's is such a rookie. It shows. He gave up. Bullshit. This is the playoffs. You fight until the very last second #nets
— IsaYankeeDiva (@IsaYankeeDiva) May 7, 2014
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