Nets coach Jason Kidd tried to send a message when he benched nearly his entire starting lineup for the second half of Friday night’s blowout loss in Houston. Mission accomplished. Behind stellar play from Joe Johnson and Andray Blatche — two of the four players benched Friday night — the Nets came away with a 97-88 victory inside FedEx Forum Saturday night, giving them a positive ending to what has been a dreadful opening month of the season. “That’s the character of those guys in that locker room,” Kidd said. “The thing about understanding there’s another game to be played, and that one’s over and you can learn from it, but to live in the present and those guys responded to that.” Johnson looked like a player with a point to prove Saturday night for the Nets (5-12), opening the game with 16 points in the first quarter — a season-high for any Net in a single quarter — including knocking down a fadeaway jumper and a 3-pointer at the buzzer on the quarter’s final two possessions. “It was huge,” said Johnson, who finished with a game-high 26 points, of the Nets’ response. “I’m glad guys came out with the mindset and attitude that we had to leave here with a win. “[Kidd] said that before we walked back on the floor, and we made it happen.” Afterward, the 6-foot-7 shooting guard — who grew up just a couple hours west of Memphis in Little Rock, Ark. — said he was stung by sitting out the second half of Friday’s miserable loss after going 2-for-10 against the Rockets, and played like it. “[It was] definitely a pride thing,” Johnson said. “Some of us, we have to look in the mirror because as a coaching staff said, we weren’t giving it our all or not playing hard, and everybody has to check themselves.” Another player who fell into that category Friday night was Blatche, who also was yanked for the second half after going 0-for-6 in the first. But he, like Johnson, looked like a completely different player in Memphis, abusing the Grizzlies (8-8) both inside and out on his way to finishing with 21 points and eight rebounds in 21:31 off the bench.
Nets roll past Grizzlies following benching
New York Post | Dec 1