Kidd hints that Pierce will return to the starting lineup if Joe Johnson sits

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce (AP)
Though he wouldn’t confirm anything about his lineup decisions tonight other than Kevin Garnett’s rest day, Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd strongly hinted that Paul Pierce would return to the starting lineup if Joe Johnson sits out.

“If Joe can’t go, it’s a possibility that (Pierce) probably does start,” Kidd said in shootaround Friday morning, while watching his big men practice three-pointers.

Pierce has come off the bench in each of the last five games since returning to the Nets active roster, scoring increasingly more points with each trip off the bench. He finished with a team-high 27 points on 10-12 shooting in Wednesday night’s loss to the Washington Wizards, carrying the offensive load in the fourth quarter as the Nets made a comeback.

“It’s definitely a mental adjustment,” Pierce said following Wednesday night’s game about his bench role. “I think I’m making that adjustment, and figuring it all out with a role off the bench.”

Kidd added that he hasn’t made a decision yet on who will replace Kevin Garnett in the starting lineup, who he’s given a rest day. On Monday night, the Nets started Mirza Teletovic at power forward next to Garnett, and Teletovic picked up 11 points on 4-8 shooting, adding five rebounds in 26 minutes.

Kidd did not speak further on Johnson’s reasons for his departure from the team. “He’s (listed as) questionable, so we’ll see.”