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Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Kidd needs OT but wins preseason debut

By Ohm Youngmisuk


WASHINGTON, D.C. –- It was an odd sight for Kevin Garnett.

He had spent over a week with Jason Kidd as his new head coach in camp. But until Tuesday night, Garnett -- or anybody else for that matter -- had yet to see Kidd coach in an actual non-summer league NBA game.

"It was weird, I’ll be honest, seeing him in his little tight suit, drawing up plays," Garnett said of finally seeing Kidd coach in a game. "It was good though."

Jason Kidd
Jason Kidd came out a winner in his Nets coaching debut against the Wizards.
In his first time on the bench in suit and tie as the Brooklyn Nets' head coach, Kidd came away victorious with a 111-106 victory over the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center.

Kidd and the Nets (1-0) needed overtime to win, but the player-turned-coach looked more and more comfortable in his new role as the game progressed.

"It felt great," Kidd said. "I just got up to stretch a couple of times."

It might have been only the preseason opener, but this was our first glimpse of Kidd. And he pretty much looked as expected: calm, cool and collected.

Coaching without lead assistant Lawrence Frank -- who was not with the team due to personal reasons -- Kidd mostly remained in his seat on the bench, occasionally getting up and walking to halfcourt and shouting some instructions.

At times, Kidd could be seen moving in his seat as he saw plays unfolding, motioning with his arm toward where he wanted the ball rotated to on the court out of transition. During timeouts, Kidd did most of the talking in the huddle before letting assistants do some instructing as well.

"I think one of the biggest things when I was a player was just accepting the moment and not being nervous," Kidd said. "Being calm is something I have always taken pride in and hopefully that will translate with my guys and when the moment is there, guys embrace it, accept it and run with it."

Kevin Garnett
Tuesday was Kevin Garnett's first appearance in a Nets uniform.
Kidd even got his first taste of trying to draw up a winning play -- something that many will be curious to see how he handles in the regular and postseason -- albeit with five-tenths of a second remaining in regulation after the Wizards’ Glen Rice Jr. scored on a putback dunk.

Kidd drew up a lob near the basket for a potential tip-in, but the buzzer went off prematurely, causing a do-over. Kidd then called a catch-and-shoot for Mirza Teletovic (15 points) who missed an open shot.

Without Deron Williams (ankle), Kidd played starters Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Garnett and Brook Lopez for 12 minutes each, all in the first half.

Pierce’s preseason debut was marred by four fouls as the swingman finished with three points and three assists. Garnett had four points and seven rebounds. Lopez looked terrific, making 6 of 7 shots for 15 points.

"Just in awe a little bit," Garnett said of Lopez. "The skill level is impressive. I haven’t been around a skill level like that playing with [a center] I don’t think ever."

Andrei Kirilenko filled up the stat sheet with 11 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals in 24 minutes off the bench.

By the time his first dress rehearsal was over, Kidd had several folded up sheets of papers tucked inside his suit pocket, and a newfound an appreciation for what coaches go through.

"Did I already say I apologize to all the coaches I’ve had?" Kidd cracked.

So far, Kidd is 1-0, with six more preseason dress rehearsals until he coaches for real.