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Thursday, November 7, 2013
Kidd: KG will play first of back-to-back

By Ohm Youngmisuk

Garnett
Kevin Garnett will play Friday. His status for Saturday is still up in the air.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –- Jason Kidd says Kevin Garnett will play against the Washington Wizards on Friday.

As for whether the veteran big man will suit up against Indiana on Saturday, Kidd said he is just focusing on the next game.

“Yeah, I don’t see why not,” Kidd said about Garnett playing in Washington. “We’re not even talking about back-to-backs. Washington is our next opponent, and that is as far as we can look.”

This weekend represents the Nets' first set of back-to-back games. They have 20 back-to-backs this season and it will be interesting to see how Kidd will play Garnett. One of his many tasks as head coach is to keep Garnett and other veterans like Paul Pierce fresh and healthy for the postseason.

Ideally, Kidd would like to play Garnett a limited amount of minutes in both games, if he's not able to rest Garnett completely in one of them. Back in August, Kidd said Garnett probably wouldn’t play back-to-back games but added that it was up for discussion.

Garnett, though, resisted the idea of rest and said at the start of camp he would like to play as much as possible to help the Nets develop chemistry.

The Nets (2-2) could use Garnett more against Indiana at home on Saturday than at Washington. But if Garnett doesn’t play heavy minutes against the Wizards, Kidd could use his power forward against Indiana knowing the Nets have three days off before playing again at Sacramento next Wednesday. Garnett played just 14 minutes in a 104-88 blowout win over Utah on Tuesday, so the veteran is fresh.

So far, Garnett is averaging just 22 minutes a game and hasn’t played more than 26 minutes in any of the four games. Pierce, who logged only 23 minutes in the Utah win, is averaging 27.8 minutes -– second only to Brook Lopez's 28 minutes a game. So far, no Net is averaging 30 minutes a night.

“We’re a lot deeper,” said Pierce, who hasn’t played longer than 31 minutes in a game this season. “We’re about 10 to 12 deep. That wasn’t the case in Boston so I logged a lot of minutes. But it’s great for the older veterans, when you talk about an 82-game season.

“When you talk about possibly playing into June, it’s great if you can keep the minutes down. It can help with a lot of minor injuries you can get when you log a lot of minutes and it shows that a team has great depth also.”

It certainly helps Kidd’s cause if he can go 11 deep regularly. The Nets have played 11 or more in three of their four games.

That has allowed Kidd to manage minutes for Garnett and Deron Williams, who has been on a minutes restriction after missing most of camp with an ankle injury.

The next back-to-back slate will be more of a challenge minutes-wise for Kidd since it will come on a three-game West Coast swing played over four nights. And that back-to-back set also is part of stretch in which the Nets will play four times in six nights. It wouldn't be a surprise if Garnett sits out a game.

“We’re a deep team, so we’re building their minutes,” Kidd said. “It’s a process. We’re only four games in, so we look around and KG is at 88 minutes through four games, so we’ll go from there.”