Jason Kidd Comes Out on Top Despite Boos from Nets' Fans
Jason Kidd, former Brooklyn Nets head coach and now head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, was booed during the start of the Nets game against Milwaukee Wednesday night at the Barclays Center, but he got the last laugh after stomping his former team in a triple OT 122-118 win. The Bucks had just beaten the other New York team a day before at home, and Kidd's intentions were to show off his young team to a possible new rival.
Kidd had Brandon Knight to thank, after the 22-year-old former Kentucky Wildcat missed a layup that forced his team to go into a second overtime. Knight clinched the tying 3-pointer in the second overtime and hit both free throws with 5.6 seconds to go in the third.
"My teammates trusted me to make the next shot to force a third overtime, so that's really what it's all about," Knight said, "and we stuck through it as a team."
In the arena where Kidd's retired jersey hangs high in the rafters, fans have yet to forgive him for leaving the Nets after only one season to take the coaching job for the Bucks. Kidd was booed and heckled as a traitor. One fan was even brave enough to shout out "you suck" during a pause in the singing of the national anthem. The heckler was heard throughout the arena, prompting other fans to laugh and cheer on.
Kidd, who went 44-38 in his only season as Nets coach was rumored to have left after a falling out with Nets management. Kidd left before the Nets could actually fire him, although Nets GM Billy King previously denied that he wanted to fire Kidd in December 2013—after losing 21 of their first 31 games last season. The Nets hired Kidd in June 2013--weeks after he retired as an NBA player.
While talking to the media on Wednesday after the game, Kidd poked fun at the fans, confident after his team's victory.
"It was a big character game for our young guys," Kidd said. "I have bad hearing anyways. So I thought whatever the greeting was, it's about the players. People don't pay to come see the coach, they come to see the guys play."
Bad hearing or not, the win was actually a "big character game" for Kidd.
Kidd seemed his normal self, sharing some laughs with Joe Johnson, and even made it clear that his last defensive play in the second OT was for Joe.
Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets Shooting guard/Small forward
Moments before the third overtime, Kidd let the Nets' bench know that he knew the play would be called for Johnson. And it was—but Johnson was unable to clinch a 2-pointer to win the game.
Johnson, known for his calm demeanor kept the focus on his team, pointing out the struggles the Nets are facing.
"We've got to find some ways somehow to get a win," Johnson said after the game. "When you're in a rut like this, it's tough. You've got to do all the little things. When you do get that win, it won't be certainly easy."