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Kidd’s return a nightmare for Nets

Jason's Bucks Topple Brooklyn in Epic Triple-Overtime Thriller

November 20, 2014 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Jason Kidd returned to Brooklyn and watched his Bucks pull out a triple-overtime thriller against the slumping Nets Wednesday night at Downtown’s Barclays Center. Photos courtesy of the Associated Press
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Jason Kidd returned to Brooklyn and settled all family business – for now. 

In his first appearance at Barclays Center since his messy divorce from the Nets, Kidd took a few not-so-veiled shots at Brooklyn management prior to the game, got booed roundly by the crowd of 15,694 during player introductions and enjoyed a resounding last laugh as his young Bucks escaped with a wild 122-118 triple-overtime victory Wednesday night. 

Kidd, whose one-year tenure as Brooklyn head coach ended with a failed bid to usurp general manager Billy King’s power last summer, had remained mum on his well-chronicled break-up with the Nets, especially since landing a more profitable position in Milwaukee. 

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That is until his pregame press conference Wednesday in the bowels of the arena where his No. 5 jersey hangs from the rafters in tribute to his contributions as a player for the Nets from 2001-08.

“My teammates and coaches, we did a lot for this franchise,” Kidd said during an approximately 10-minute stand-up presser prior to the much-anticipated contest.

”But it’s [the] what-have-you-done-for-us-lately motto. I understand everybody has their opinion,” he added. “It’s a business, and I work for the Milwaukee Bucks.” 

It certainly is a business, as Kidd proved when he forced his way out of Brooklyn for more money and more power in the Bucks organization, but there was no denying that this one was also personal for the future Hall of Fame point guard.

Kidd admitted that he found Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s, “Don’t let the door hit you where the lord split you,” quote following his departure comical, but no so original.

He also added that he lost a lot of faith and trust in both Prokhorov and King when rumors began circulating that he could be fired last December following the Nets’ brutal 10-21 start under his guidance. 

”I think it really helped me to see what I was dealing with, what type of people I was dealing with, you know?” Kidd intimated. ”As a player, you get traded. As a coach you have the opportunity to get traded, so that’s what happens. We move on. Unfortunately one side hasn’t, but eventually both sides will move on.”

Both sides finally moved on to the court following all the pregame drama, and staged one of the more memorable games in the three-year history of the Barclays Center.

After failing to settle matters in regulation, Milwaukee point guard Brandon Knight blew what would have been a game-ending layup at the close of the first overtime, stealing an errant pass from Joe Johnson and somehow coming up empty on his drive to the bucket as the buzzer sounded. 

Kidd, who claimed to have trouble with his hearing when reminded of the boos he received from the raucous Brooklyn crowd while walking on to the court and during introductions, bit his fist on the bench after Knight’s gaffe, having come so close to tasting victory on a night he so wanted it. 

But Knight redeemed himself, drilling a tying 3-pointer near the close of the second overtime to force a third extra session. 

”My teammates trusted me to make the next shot to force a third overtime, so that’s really what it’s all about,” noted Knight, who finished with 18 points and eight assists.

During those furious final five minutes, with Kidd wildly flapping his arms and shouting instructions from the bench, the Bucks (7-5) proved to be the more energetic and tenacious unit, taking advantage of what appeared to be an older, more-fatigued opponent.

Deron Williams’ dribble-drive and dish to a wide-open Johnson gave the Nets a prime opportunity to tie things up with time waning in the third OT, but Johnson’s shot rimmed out and the Nets were ultimately unable to cash in on the reprieve Knight had granted them. 

“We just didn’t have enough juice there at the end,” admitted Nets first-year head coach Lionel Hollins after his team fell to 4-7 with a season-high fifth consecutive loss. “It was a gritty game that we just didn’t win.” 

Brook Lopez scored a season-high 26 points, grabbed seven rebounds, but also committed a season-high seven turnovers for Brooklyn, exemplifying what an odd, uneven night it was for the Nets. 

”We’ve got to find some ways somehow to get a win,” Johnson said after finishing with 18 points. ”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.” 

Rookie Jabari Parker poured in a career-high 23 points, O.J. Mayo added 21 and Giannis Antetokounmpo had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Milwaukee, which extended its season-high winning streak to three.

But the night ultimately belonged to Kidd, arguably the greatest player in Nets history and without question one of Brooklyn’s most notorious villains since last summer.

”People don’t pay to come see the coach, they come to see the guys play,” Kidd said after soaking in the big win, congratulating his team and hugging it out at half court with some of his former players. 

Those words didn’t ring particularly true on Wednesday night.

 

Nothing But Net: Kidd’s return to Brooklyn wasn’t the only big story breaking at the Barclays Center on Wednesday night. Former Net Jason Collins, who spent eight of his 13 NBA seasons with the organization, officially retired after becoming the league’s first-ever openly gay player last season during a 22-game stint in Brooklyn. ”After last season, especially over the summer, my body was talking to me like it does to all professional athletes after a certain while,” said Collins, who played alongside Kidd on the Nets’ Eastern Conference championship teams in 2002 and 2003. ”It’s a young man’s game and Father Time is undefeated. Got another one.” … G Williams had 17 points, seven assists and four of Brooklyn’s season-high 22 turnovers. … The slumping Nets will try to end their losing streak on the road, opening a three-game trip in Oklahoma City on Friday night. Brooklyn will visit defending NBA champion San Antonio on Saturday and will spend Thanksgiving Eve in Philadelphia against the still-winless 76ers.


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