Year one of the coaching career of Jason Kidd has not been very pleasant. The Brooklyn Nets have really struggled and rock bottom came with their loss on Christmas against the Chicago Bulls. After the game, it was reported that Kidd had “called out his players” but he refuted that by saying the message was simply that his team “had to fight.” Rumors are swirling that Kidd has lost the locker room, but tonight the team brought the energy and effort they need to get back in the Atlantic Division race.
Kidd has been criticized a lot for his coaching, but tonight he should be praised for the two lineup changes that he made. He started Shaun Livingston over Alan Anderson and inserted Paul Pierce back into the starting five and brought Mirza Teletovic off the bench. The result was a 104-93 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks and hopefully a momentum swing that the Nets can carry. Pierce struggled shooting again, but Livingston scored a team-high 20 points. The smaller lineup with Pierce at the four gave the Bucks fits.
Teletovic also looked much more relaxed as a reserve and got more touches with the second unit, hitting five threes en route to 19 points on the night. Who knows if Kidd will stick with this lineup long term, but he obviously had to make some changes to give this team a chance to win. It appears, at least on this night, that Kidd pushed the right buttons when it comes to his team. This was a game they had to have as they have a challenge against the Indiana Pacers tomorrow and the new starting five delivered.