Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd said after Monday night’s 127-97 preseason victory over the Philadelphia 76ers that Kevin Garnett would rest Tuesday’s preseason matchup against his former team, the Boston Celtics. Paul Pierce, a former lifetime Celtic before this season, will play in the matchup at Barclays Center.
Garnett spent six emotional years in Boston, including one NBA championship run in 2008, before the Celtics traded him, Pierce, and Jason Terry to the Nets this offseason.
Garnett did not acknowledge tomorrow’s game as any more important than another. “This is not about me individually, nor is it about Paul (Pierce), nor is it about JET (Jason Terry), nor any other individual player here,” Garnett said after the game. “We’re working towards getting better here. I feel like every night, every time we step out on the floor, that’s the goal. I thought tonight we did that, and tomorrow’s another chance to get better.”
Kidd devised a plan early in the offseason to rest Garnett in back-to-back games, a plan that Garnett didn’t take kindly to. The two went back-and-forth in the media over the plan to rest Garnett, but Kidd won’t take a risk with Garnett in back-to-back preseason games.
The decision to rest Garnett against the Celtics was Kidd’s and Kidd’s alone, as Garnett made very clear. “It wasn’t my decision,” Garnett said. “So that’s where I’m gonna leave that. I am trying to be as positive as I can be. This is not up to me. I’m being positive. I’m trying to listen and go with the plan that was laid out for me and being positive with that. So I’m trusting Jason and what he has in store for myself.”
Despite his stated trust in Kidd’s plan, Garnett didn’t hide his desire to play every single day. “Every day that you have a chance to better your craft, every chance we come in here and work as a group, I would like to be a part of that. You just don’t get to 18 years and just show up and think that. No.”
Garnett played 15 minutes in the victory over the 76ers, scoring four points and adding seven rebounds. He stressed multiple times that the team needs to figure out its issues with turnovers soon — the team finished with 23 tonight, and has turned the ball over 74 times in three preseason games — but that he as a veteran wants to remain sharp.
“I’m very funny when it comes to critiquing myself. I watch a lot of film of myself, and opponents also, but more importantly I’m very funny about coming in and getting my work in, making sure that I’m sharp. As you get older you want to do those things. But at the end you have to, and I’m no different from that.”