In the Brooklyn Nets 94-87 victory over the Toronto Raptors, the biggest question for the Nets in the victory was something that didn’t happen: namely, bench player Andrei Kirilenko didn’t enter the game once, the only DNP-CD on the team that’s a regular part of their rotation.
It was something fans noticed all game: Kirilenko’s expected to be their defensive anchor in the playoffs, but didn’t enter the game once. Was he hurt? Was he being disciplined?
Kidd answered the question in his post-game press conference. It appears the decision was purely a tactical one.
“I played 10 guys,” Kidd said when asked about sitting his 6’9″ forward. “I can’t play them all.”
So it was a coaching decision by Kidd, but it does seem odd, considering that the Nets bench struggled throughout. Non-starters shot just 8-23 from the field, and other than Mason Plumlee, every bench player had a plus-minus between -13 and -16.
Kirilenko’s wife Instagrammed her confusion after the game, sending out a photo of her husband on the bench with the caption “…. And are you Kidding like Jason……”:
— The Brooklyn Game (@TheBKGame) April 19, 2014
It’s possible that Kirilenko didn’t have a proper matchup on the floor. Kirilenko’s best when he’s able to guard bigger and longer scorers, and Toronto doesn’t have many players like that: their best wing scorer is DeMar DeRozan, and he struggled all game, shooting just 2-12 from the field.
Still, Kirilenko fits guarding nearly anyone from one to five, so it seems odd that he was glued to the bench in the victory.