Thursday, October 31, 2013
Kirilenko will debut vs. Heat
By Mike Mazzeo
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brooklyn Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko will make his regular-season debut in the team's home opener against the Miami Heat Friday night.
Kirilenko missed the team's regular-season opener, a 98-94 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night, due to back spasms.
“I got the green light,” Kirilenko said Thursday. “I'm not sure how many minutes I'm going to play, but it's definitely worth a try.”
Jason Kidd said during Friday's shootaround that Kirilenko is expected to play 12-14 minutes.
Kirilenko said he needs to be a “little bit careful” with how he plays, so he doesn't re-injure himself.
“Getting back sometimes you're just too excited, I need to take it step by step,” he said.
Kirilenko is a versatile defender who can play and guard multiple positions. He averaged 12.4 points on 50.7 percent shooting for the Minnesota Timberwolves last season.
Nets point guard Deron Williams, who played 22 minutes Wednesday night, hopes to build on that Friday night.
“I'm good. I'm a little sore,” said Williams, who played just 10 minutes in the preseason due to a sprained right ankle injury.
Williams was forced to sit out the final 17 minutes of Wednesday night's game because he reached his limit in the third quarter.
“We haven't talked about it but that's something I'll definitely try to bring up,” Williams said of trying to make sure the coaching staff gets him minutes in the fourth quarter. “It's just tough. Like I told everybody yesterday, it's hard for me to sit for 20 minutes, 30 minutes and then go out and play the end of the game.”
Said Kidd, who did not coach Wednesday night and will also miss Friday night's game because of a two-game suspension for DWI: “Going into the game, we knew he was going to be limited minutes wise and we're going to build on that. To roll him out the first night playing 30 minutes, putting that type of pressure on him, it's just not fair. It's 82 games so you have to work him back in and for tomorrow for him to build on that  minutes.”
Backup point guard Shaun Livingston has a sprained right thumb.
“We'll see how he is tomorrow,” Kidd said.