Andrei Kirilenko has had trouble staying on the court this season, but when he’s been healthy he has been one of the Brooklyn Nets’ best all-around players and specifically effective on defense. So when he didn’t play at all on Saturday in Game 1 it seemed likely that one of his many ailments had acted up.
This time it turns out that Kirilenko wasn’t hurt and instead it seemed like Jason Kidd just didn’t like the matchup against the Raptors.
“It wasn’t predetermined,” Jason Kidd said. “It was the flow. I went with Alan right off the bench, it’s just feel and that’s the reason why.”
“I have a deep team, and it’s about winning the game,” Kidd said. “AK didn’t get in. That doesn’t mean that he’s not going to play any of this series. That’s just one game. We got the win, now we move on. Every game is going to be different.”
The Nets went mostly with Alan Anderson and Mirza Teletovic in spots they might have otherwise used Kirilenko. Considering it seems like he’s perpetually injured, keeping Kirilenko on the bench if Kidd felt that AA was playing well isn’t the worst thing.
Kirilenko, 33-years-old, missed 37 of 82 games this season mostly due to back spasms but more recently due to ankle problems. When he did play, he averaged 9.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.7 steals per 36 minutes with a true shooting percentage of 53.2.
“I think 10 other guys played, I can’t play them all,” Kidd said when asked why Kirilenko didn’t play. “It’s something that we talked about at Duke. Sometimes you might not play, but everyone has to be ready. He’ll be ready to go in Game 2, he’s healthy.”
Kirilenko seemed to understand. “We have so much experience and so much depth on the team,” Kirilenko said. “So once in a while, you just can’t find the time for everybody. Coach, I think, made the right decision. I want to play, but it’s all right.”