SAN ANTONIO -- Andrei Kirilenko was among the first players warming up on the AT&T Center floor last night, hoisting jumpers and throwing down a dunk or two.
It wasn't hard to tell he was excited to finally be back -- and that his was feeling pretty good.
After being sidelined for the past 25 games with nagging back spasms, Kirilenko returned to action against the Spurs and he immediately showed off his intangibles once he initially checked in with 4:03 left in the first quarter, finding Deron Williams underneath the basket for a wide open layup.
Kirilenko was on a minutes restriction and played 10:53, hitting both shots he took and finishing with four points and two assists. More importantly, he came through unscathed.
"I think I did a pretty good job, despite the result, to get my routine, my work during the game, my running back and forth," Kirilenko said. That's what I want from myself. I kind of push myself to do that. ". . . It's unfortunate that I'm not ready to play more than 10-12 minutes yet. But it's getting better."
Stan Van Gundy slams Nets
Stan Van Gundy blasted the Nets in an interview on NBC Sports Radio on Monday, calling them bush league and characterizing their future as bleak.
“The things coming out of their locker room, the situation with the incident of spilling the drink on the floor,” Van Gundy said, “I mean this has looked like a bush league organization much of the year. They don’t play with much effort at all, a very uninspired team.
"You can do whatever you want with the coaching situation, but it is not going to change the situation with their roster. "They just don’t have a lot of options, they don’t have draft picks, they are way over the salary cap. They are probably in the worst situation of any team in the NBA right now.”
Kidd took the high road when asked about the organization’s path.
“Well I think we have one of the best owners and so I’m confident,” Kidd said. “We’ve got a group of guys in there that are fighting . . . Everybody has their right to their opinion, but the guys in that locker room are fighting.”