Stotts: Hard work rewarded with wins
NEW YORK – The fans in attendance at Barclays Center booed the Brooklyn Nets as they walked to the locker room after a crushing 108-98 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
A group of fans in the 300-level seating area began to chant “Let’s Go Blazers, Let’s Go Blazers” when the Trail Blazers were pulling away late in the fourth quarter. It was that bad. And it was bad coaching.
Nets coach Jason Kidd agrees.
“Just bad coaching,” Kidd said. “I take the blame for this. Guys played hard. We got a little stagnant on the offensive end. This falls on my shoulders. We got off to a good start and then in the third quarter, we came out a little flat and that falls on me.”
Kidd’s first year on the job isn’t starting off too well. In tonight’s game, he was clearly outcoached as he failed to make the proper adjustments, his players looked out of it and questionable lineups were on the floor at strange times throughout the game.
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Brooklyn (3-7) started the game off on fire from the field, nailing 14 of their 19 field goal attempts (74 percent) in the first quarter. They even put up a first quarter season-high of 40 points. If it were not for the Trail Blazers shooting 72 percent, this game would have likely been over in the opening quarter.
Both teams cooled off a bit in the second quarter, but the Nets held on to the lead and went into halftime on top 63-56. Now, here is what transpired during halftime in the Trail Blazers’ locker room:
“Coach was considering changing our defensive coverage, but decided we were going to stick with it,” Wesley Matthews said after torching the Nets for 23 points on nine-of-13 shooting. “The Heat don’t change their coverage. Chicago doesn’t change their coverages. Indiana doesn’t change their coverage. They just turn it on and turn it up. We just got to the ball more, talked a little bit more, reacted a little faster and we were more aggressive and that’s what we were able to do. I’m not comparing us to those teams because we’re us. But that decision helped us play with an edge in the second half.”
Terry Stotts outcoached Jason Kidd. Plain and simple. We all witnessed it. Kidd looked confused, puzzled and out of place. When his team needed a score out of a timeout, he failed. When a key defensive stop was needed, the Nets faltered. Motivation and determination was lacking and that’s saying a lot considering this team has Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, two of the fiercest competitors we have in this game.
Portland (9-2) trailed for most of this game and never led until it was 4:08 remaining in the third quarter. They never looked back after that, taking the soul from this Brooklyn crowd.
LaMarcus Aldridge provided a game-high 27 points and eight boards. Damian Lillard added 19 points and nine assists. Mo Williams led the reserves with 12 points and six assists.
Garnett came out hitting his first six shots. Then he missed 11 of his next 13. Pierce was two-of-12 and Joe Johnson was four-of-12.
This Brooklyn team was built to win now. Jason Kidd may have the respect of the players for being one of the greatest point guards we have ever seen, but that has nothing to do with coaching a group of adults with no prior coaching experience.
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Stotts, who was an assistant for years under George Karl and Rick Carlisle, says those years spent with those two prepared him to be the coach that he is today.
“When you’re on the bench as an assistant, you have the opportunity to sit back and look at the game and talk to players, think things through and talk to other assistants,” he said. “But as a head coach you have to manage the game. And that’s just game management. Managing the roster, managing the communication with the player. There’s so much that goes into being a head coach that sometimes you lose site of that or you probably don’t even know it when you’re an assistant.”
The hiring of Kidd was questionable for a team that’s going deep into the luxury tax. Lionel Hollins, George Karl and Jerry Sloan were/are on the market and were passed up. Kidd is a big name, but that’s about it right now.
That’s why it’s still imperative that coaches are setup for success and the way of doing that is going through the proper channels to becoming a head coach.
Of course, there will be some exceptions. Only time will tell if Kidd is one of them. However, what we saw tonight leads me to believe that Brooklyn will be in store for an extremely long season.
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It still pays to pay your dues.
“I think it depends on your circumstances,” Stotts said. “How long you’ve been coaching. Moving from an assistant to a head coach where instead of suggesting, you’re making decisions. Ultimately, everything lands on the head coach. There’s a lot that goes through your mind. It’s a new experience.
“My first opportunity came at Christmas with Atlanta so I didn’t have the benefit of my own training camp and having that relationship as a head coach. Obviously, you have a different type of relationship as an assistant. But every coach has their own style, their own way of communicating, their own thoughts and philosophies. Coaching is about modifying at times.”