Friday, April 4, 2014
Nets could get KG back in Philly
By Mike Mazzeo
NEW YORK -- It sounds like Kevin Garnett is going to return to the Brooklyn Nets lineup on Saturday night in Philadelphia.
While coach Jason Kidd wouldn’t fully commit to it, the Nets coach sure seemed optimistic about the possibility.
"[Kevin] felt better today," Kidd said Friday night following his team’s 15th consecutive home victory. "We’ll see how his plane ride goes, and then we’ll see in the morning how he feels. We would like to try to get him to go tomorrow, but it’s up to him."
Garnett has missed the past 19 games due to back spasms. The Nets (41-34) have gone 14-5 without him.
Asked if he is worried about reintegrating Garnett into the lineup, Kidd replied, "Nope. Kevin is a professional. He’s been doing it for a million years, so there’s nothing to worry about. He’s about the team. He’s about what we as a team stand for -- unselfishness, defense -- so he won’t have a problem with that."
Garnett worked out the past two days, and Kidd liked what he saw from his 37-year-old veteran.
Asked if Garnett will start or come off the bench when he returns, Kidd replied, "We haven’t talked about that. I just want to make sure that he’s going to go, then we’ll sit down and talk about if he starts or comes off the bench."
Garnett leads the team in defensive rating (100.6) and had been shooting 57 percent from the field in 2014 before getting injured.
"You’re adding a Hall of Famer to a basketball team, so I think there’s gonna be an impact," Jason Collins said. "We’re all looking forward to being at full strength and obviously building for the playoffs."
The Nets needed someone to step up in Garnett’s absence -- and rookie Mason Plumlee has done just that.
Still, Plumlee is no Garnett.
"It’s huge," Paul Pierce said of his long-time teammate’s impending return. "Being that there’s like seven games left as we make this playoff push, try to gather some momentum and try to gather the chemistry back with him out there going into the playoffs. With him out there, it makes us an even deeper team. With him being out, some guys probably wouldn't have gotten the minutes they got, so that’s great for them to get out there and get some confidence, not only in themselves but some confidence in Coach Kidd come playoff time knowing you can use different guys and different lineups."
The biggest questions going forward: What Garnett are the Nets getting? How many minutes will he be able to play?
"I don’t think he’s gonna come in and play 25 minutes the first night back," Deron Williams said. "He’ll be out there for a few minutes and get back in shape and get back into a rhythm."