- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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Some Brooklyn Nets fans on Twitter did not agree with coach Jason Kidd’s decision to sit starters Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce for the entire fourth quarter of Tuesday night’s 107-86 blowout loss to the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at AmericanAirlines Center.
Kidd, they felt, was waving the white flag too soon.
The Nets went into the fourth trailing by 13 after Williams banked in a 29-footer at the buzzer.
Kidd sent out a lineup of Shaun Livingston, Marcus Thornton, Mirza Teletovic, Andrei Kirilenko and Mason Plumlee to begin the final period. The Nets coach hoped his reserves would make a decent dent in the double-digit deficit, but they didn’t. Livingston (9:31) and Kevin Garnett (1:16) were the only starters to appear in the fourth.
“I wanted to get those guys -- the starters -- a break, get them some rest,” Kidd said. “And when we went with that group -- the reserves -- I felt that that group could make shots but also get some stops and get it to where it’s under 10, and then go from there, but it never happened.”
Here’s how the starters responded when asked about Kidd’s decision:
“Of course we’d love to get back out there. But that was Coach’s decision,” Williams said. “He probably just felt like 20 points is tough to overcome at that point in the game. But as a player you definitely want to be out there.”
“You know, Kidd’s making the decisions,” Pierce said. “We’re sticking with him all the way through. We’re trusting him.”
Added Garnett: “Jason Kidd told me to sub in for Mason. And then he subbed me out. Following directions, dog. Following directions.”
The Nets had just come off a grueling seven-game first-round series with the Toronto Raptors. They flew to Miami following their Game 7 victory in Toronto on Sunday, then had one day to rest before taking on the two-time defending champions in Round 2.
Kirilenko said he felt like the team’s “engine just stopped” in the third quarter, when Brooklyn was outscored 33-23, and what was once a close game turned into a blowout.
“Can’t use that as an excuse,” Garnett said. “We are here, and we’ve got to be ready to play.”
Question: What did you think of Kidd’s decision? Let us know in the comments section.