Even after going down 27 points to the Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash-less Los Angeles Lakers, while working at home, the Brooklyn Nets had a chance to win on Wednesday night. Even with Brook Lopez and Deron Williams out, and even after Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson combined to miss 26 of 36 shots, the Nets had a chance in the final seconds. The problem with coming back from 27 points, though, is that you tend to burn through quite a few timeouts. Especially if your team is led by a rookie head coach that is still getting his feet wet when it comes to game management from the sideline.
To counter this, Brooklyn rookie head coach Jason Kidd made a veteran move, and literally attempted to get his feet wet. Right after appearing to mouth “hit me” to Nets rookie guard Tyshawn Taylor, Taylor and Kidd bumped, and Kidd’s pop soda went spilling all over the Barclays Center floor. The move earned the Nets some extra real time with the clocked stopped in order to draw up a play for his timeout-less team with Brooklyn down one in the final seconds.
Watch – especially at the 34-second mark, where Kidd appears to give Taylor directions:
The move didn’t work. Kidd couldn’t “ice” Laker guard Jodie Meeks while he was at the line during a pair of free throws (the referees, mindful that the Nets would be in-bounding right after Meeks’ make or miss, couldn’t risk having both teams trudge down to a court with liquid and ice all over it), and the subsequent Nets play fell short. Meeks made his second free throw, Paul Pierce’s potentially game-winning three-pointer missed, and Brooklyn lost for the ninth time in 11 games.
Kidd, following the game, feigned innocence. From the New York Daily News:
“The cup slipped out of my hand,” Kidd said. “I was getting tired. Sweaty palms. I was never good with the ball. So, in the heat of the battle, you’re trying to get guys in and out of the game, and the Coke fell out of my hand.”
Taylor, according to The Brooklyn Game, also had his coach’s back in talking to the press; though he did let it slip how odd it was to see a head coach walking around with a cup like that during the game’s waning moments:
Taylor also denied that the spill was intentional. "Naw, I wasn't paying attention," Taylor said after the game. "I didn't even know he was holding nothing. Like, coach is drinking soda on the sidelines! I'm like 'What? What you doing?'"
Still, as wily a move as this apparently was, Kidd still wasn’t the one with the clipboard in the final seconds. According to the New York Times, assistant coach John Welch (who led the Nets during Kidd’s two-game suspension for a DWI offense to begin the year) was the one who drew up the final play.
So even in his most veteran-y of moments, Kidd still comes off as the novice. And the Nets are 4-11.
Happy Thanksgiving, Mikhail Prokhorov.
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