- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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Garnett missed Saturday night’s win in Milwaukee due to back spasms. The 37-year-old veteran has played in 49 of the team’s first 56 games this season, averaging a career-low 21.0 minutes. Nets coach Jason Kidd has constantly monitored Garnett’s playing time in an effort to make sure he’s healthy for the playoffs.
The Nets are 3-5 without Garnett this season.
“The big thing is we won two games on that road trip without Kevin, so that shows our growth,” Kidd said. “But we do want him back out there on the court as soon as possible, and hopefully he can go tonight.”
The teams the Nets beat on their trip minus KG? The Bucks (11-47) and Los Angeles Lakers (20-39). Brooklyn is 6.4 points per 100 possessions better defensively with Garnett on the court (100.6 with, 107.0 without).
Garnett is also shooting 57 percent from the field since Jan. 1, so he’s certainly been a huge presence on both ends of the floor.
• Monday night’s game is significant for the Nets. A win would even their record at 29-29. And you know the Bulls have had their number recently, winning the first two regular-season matchups between the two teams by an average of 17 points.
“They put us out of the playoffs last year, beat us here in Game 7,” Deron Williams said. “They beat us twice already this year. It’s definitely a game we want. It puts us at .500 and closer to moving up in the standings.”
Andrei Kirilenko also gave his take. “It’s all about our game,” he said. “If we execute our game plan, we always win the game. When we start not believing in our strategy, we’re always screwed.”
• Jason Collins will make his home debut Monday night.
“He fouls, he does all the little things,” joked Collins’ former teammate Kidd. “Nothing’s changed.”
Monday night’s game will mark the final one before Collins’ 10-day contract expires.
“We’ll just take tonight and go from there,” Kidd said.
3dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann