25° Good Evening
25° Good Evening

Nets’ Kenny Atkinson learned ‘a great lesson’ in loss to Celtics

Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson reacts against

Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson reacts against the Boston Celtics in the second half of an NBA basketball game at Barclays Center on Friday, March 17, 2017. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Nets coach Kenny Atkinson on Sunday revisited the ending of the Nets’ 98-95 loss to Boston on Friday night, when point guard Jeremy Lin played only the final 2:51 of the fourth quarter. Lin got stuck at the scorer’s table for about three minutes as play continued without a stoppage. Atkinson said he should have used a timeout to get Lin in earlier.

The Nets trailed by six when Lin returned, and he had two points, two rebounds and two assists as they stayed close, missing two potential tying three-pointers in the final seconds.

“Obviously, we have a plan for him in terms of what his minutes look like on a back-to-back,” Atkinson said of Lin, who is coming back from a hamstring injury and played 30 minutes the previous night.

“That being said, he was sitting at the table. I went back and forth. I said, ‘Do we call a timeout and get him in?’ Being a coach, I wanted that timeout, which we ended up needing at the end of the game. In hindsight, I probably should have gotten him in. That’s my conclusion. But it’s a great lesson for me.”

Bench gets big minutes

Atkinson also kept starting forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson on the bench the entire fourth quarter against Boston. “I thought Rondae played really well, but I felt like that [second unit] was playing really well,” Atkinson said.

He reinforced that conviction in Sunday’s 111-104 loss to the Mavs by not playing healthy backup power forward Trevor Booker. Atkinson stuck with a second unit that included big men Andrew Nicholson and Quincy Acy, small forward K.J. McDaniels and guards Spencer Dinwiddie and Isaiah Whitehead. Guard Archie Goodwin, who is on a 10-day contract, also made his Nets debut. The bench totaled 51 points.

“I think we all understand we have to see some new players and get a grip on what we have here,” Atkinson said. “You’ll see more of that lineup.”

Carlisle praises Nets’ grit

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was impressed by the determination the Nets showed to battle back from an 18-point second-quarter deficit and make it close late. “Brooklyn is persistent,” Carlisle said. “They keep coming at you. Kenny has done a great job with that roster. Caris LeVert has gotten better. Spencer Dinwiddie is night and day better since he’s been here. Quincy Acy is having a great year. Their young guys, Isaiah Whitehead, are all going to be players.”


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports