Brian ErniThe media just can’t decide what they want out of Kevin Garnett, specifically how and when Jason Kidd plays him.
After Game 2, there was talk that Kidd should have left Garnett on the floor once he had established his shot, and that Kidd left the second unit on the floor too long in the four quarter, which allowed Toronto to take the lead and close out down the stretch. Those are ideas that I agree with. Yes, I feel like KG could have gotten two or three more minutes in the first when he was hot, and I would have loved to see him and the rest of the starters get back out there before their slim lead slipped away. But after Game 3, the question became should Garnett have sat late in the fourth, since the Raptors made their run with him in he game.
“So you’re saying I shouldn’t play him?” Kidd responded, seemingly miffed by the question. “We won the game with him. With KG on the floor. He’s one of our leaders. The big thing is he was out there and fouled out. He gave everything he had, so there is no concern.”
Make no mistake, Kidd hears the Garnett chatter. He told reporters prior to Game 3 that he may play a few more minutes, “though probably not as many as you guys would like.” Now, he sticks with his emotional leader to try to close out a game and he’s supposed to what? Apologize for that? I don’t blame Kidd for his response, because at some point, the endless ebbs and flows in the narrative gets exhausting.
If it’s your contention that Garnett’s minutes could go up by two or three, like mine is, fine. I was thrilled to see KG play until he fouled out. It never occurred to me that some would somehow try to find a way to blame the fact that the Nets shot 4-of-12 — none of which were taken by Garnett — in the fourth on him. But the bottom line is Kidd has to manage each player with the idea that they not only have to win this series, but three more. Those are decisions he’ll have to make quickly and, often times, right in the heat of battle. Some will make sense to you, some will not. Just be consistent in the criticism.