Kevin Garnett will not make his second return to Boston due to back spasms.
The Nets' defensive quarterback did not make the trip with the team to Boston and will miss his fourth straight game on Friday due to his ailing back. Rookie Mason Plumlee could start again in place of Garnett.
The Nets, who have won four straight games, did not practice on Thursday. But general manager Billy King doesn’t expect Garnett to be out for a significant amount of time.
“The one thing with KG as we have done with all our guys, it is more about getting them to the point where they are ready for the stretch,” King said in an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio. “There is no timetable on it. Just day to day. When he is ready and shows he is ready to go he will be back. I don’t expect it to be a long time.”
The Nets (30-29) beat Milwaukee, Chicago and Memphis without Garnett. Defensively, they held those three opponents to an average of 90.6 points and also recorded 14, 19 and 14 steals in each of those wins.
“[Garnett’s absence] makes guys step up,” Williams said. “And I think guys have stepped up to the challenge.”
Paul Pierce knows more than anyone how bad Garnett wants to play, especially in a game back in Boston. When the Nets played in Boston for the first time this season on Jan. 26, the Celtics franchise honored Pierce and Garnett with an emotional tribute. It was a sentimental return for both former Celtics.
“It is tough for him,” Pierce said of Garnett not being able to play. “We had a chance to see him get out on the court and do some extra stuff [on Wednesday before beating Memphis]. But he is a competitor. He hates to sit out. The good thing is we need him to get his rest so he can come back full strength.”