Nets' Kevin Garnett out with back spasms after playing back-to-back
MILWAUKEE - Kevin Garnett's road trip technically ended sooner than the rest of his teammates.
Garnett was held out of the final game of this six-game, 12-day trek last night, sitting out with what the Nets called back spasms. Jason Kidd didn't seem overly concerned with the status of his 37-year-old big man, suggesting it's not going to shelve him for any extended period.
"I think it might have started in the Denver game [Thursday], but for us, he's about being a competitor," said the Nets coach, who inserted rookie Mason Plumlee into the starting lineup in Garnett's place. "He wanted to play and he did, so tonight he'll have a night off."
"I don't think it's long-term," Kidd added. "This is his rest day, so we'll get him some proper rest and see how he feels tomorrow."
It was the second time Garnett had been held out since the All-Star Game. He also took a seat in the Nets' win over the Lakers a week ago and has missed a total of eight games this season to rest up.
But Garnett has been a mainstay in the lineup most of the Nets' recent set of back-to-backs. He's played on the tail end in five of the last seven sets of back-to-backs, doing his best to show that he can still be effective on successive nights.
"I think he's handled Father Time very well," Kidd said. "He competes when he's out on the floor at a high level. It might not be for 35 minutes or 40, but what he brings on a nightly basis to the locker room and on the floor are very important to us, and he's been a big part of our success."
End of the line
Even though the snow was flying outside before the game and the calendar just flipped to March, Saturday night seemed like the last day of summer school in a sense. The Nets haven't played a home game since Feb. 12 and their date with the Bucks signaled the end of a lengthy road stretch.
So without a doubt, the players were like eager students waiting for the teacher to signal the end of class. That means they were one step closer to being in the comforts of their cushy pads.
"For us, all these games are challenging," Paul Pierce before tipoff. "We are not a team that anybody is pretty much scared of. This is one of the toughest games on the trip. We've been on the road for a couple of weeks. I'm sure everybody is ready to get back home, get in their own beds.
"But at this point, I think it's all mental on how we try to close out the trip. This is a game that we feel like we should, win, but it's all about how we try to close out the trip. It's about how we approach it mentally and go out there and get the job done."
Drew praises Collins' playBucks coach Larry Drew knows all about Jason Collins' game because he coached him for two seasons with the Hawks. He recalled how much Collins contributed defensively when Atlanta was matched up against Dwight Howard and the Magic in the playoffs in 2011.
"He was so important for us," Drew said. "I remember the year before I became the head coach there, we were swept by Orlando and they were kind of our measuring stick. They were a team that just had their way with us. When I took over the next year, I knew they would still be the measuring stick for us . . . I made a decision to play Jason straight up against Dwight and he was phenomenal in that series. "When you talk about big man defense, he is text book . . . You need a guy like that who is willing to sacrifice himself and he was very instrumental in our success in Atlanta when we defeated Orlando in that series."