Garnett was arguably the only Net who actually played a good fourth quarter in Game 4 on Sunday night.
In fact, he accounted for the team’s final two points when he knocked down a pair of free throws with 4:58 left, and he assisted on the team’s final made field goal when his pass led to Paul Pierce’s layup with 6:11 remaining.
Kidd inserted Garnett into the game with 8:28 remaining. Was he going to play the rest of the way? No. He wasn’t. Not given the way his coach has managed his minutes all season. Not a chance.
Kidd decided to give Garnett a quick rest with 4:43 left. At that point, the game was tied at 79.
By the time Garnett came back in 2:18 later, the Nets were down by four. He ended up logging 22 minutes -- his most minutes since Feb. 13 in Chicago (25).
Garnett logged 22 minutes in Game 4. It was his most since Feb. 13.
Garnett said he wasn’t upset that Kidd sat him briefly down the stretch.
“I’m never upset. That’s first off. Obviously, everybody wants to play, but I trust Jason’s decision-making,” Garnett said after the game. “I don’t ever want to be a distraction to any coach that I play for. And I’m not gonna start now. If anything, I try to be positive, I try to be energetic, try to use my experience. I always say rest is good, but it is what it is. Whatever decision Jason makes, I’ll stand behind him 100 percent.”
Said Kidd in a Monday conference call: “I’m not resting him too much. And I don’t regret sitting him, because we have the luxury of doing that with Mason [Plumlee] and Dray [Andray Blatche]. Whenever KG is on the floor we trust that he’s going to do the right thing and when we have a sub come in, the next guy is gonna step up and continue to do the right thing.”
When asked if sitting Garnett was more about him accumulating minutes or being out on the floor for a certain amount of time, Kidd responded, “A combination of both. We’re not gonna run him for 12 minutes.”
In the 22 minutes Garnett played, the Nets outscored the Raptors, 40-38. In the 26 minutes he did not play, the Raptors outscored the Nets, 49-39.
In the 77 minutes Garnett has played during the series, the Nets have outscored the Raptors, 164-143. In the 115 minutes Garnett has not played during the series, the Raptors have outscored the Nets, 229-206.
You get the point. Brooklyn is a better team with its defensive anchor/rim protector is on the court.
But Kidd seems so concerned with making sure Garnett stays healthy, he won’t let him stay out there for prolonged periods of time.
It would be one thing if it was still the regular season, but it’s the playoffs. Do or die time.
In the first four games against the Raptors, Garnett has logged 20, 19, 16 and 22 minutes. He is averaging 7.5 points and 5.0 rebounds on 50 percent shooting in the series.
Yes, Garnett is coming off back spasms, but c’mon -- You don’t trade three future first-round picks for a guy so he can sit.
It feels like Kidd is too concerned with the future when he should be concerned with the present. Maybe because Kidd doesn’t want Garnett to break down the same way the Nets coach did last season when he was playing point guard for the New York Knicks.
But Garnett doesn’t have much time left in his career. He’s got a guaranteed $12 million coming to him next season, but this could be it. And there’s plenty of off-days in-between games to rest and recover.
So why not just extend Garnett’s minutes allotment to somewhere between 25-30 and see what happens?
Question: What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.