Nets coach Jason Kidd will miss Brooklyn’s regular-season home opener against the Heat as part of his league-mandated punishment for driving drunk. So, on Thursday at Barclays Center, the Nets retired his jersey before a preseason game.
Other than perhaps a hard foul by Paul Pierce on LeBron James, the retirement ceremony of the Nets’ new coach and greatest player in franchise history was the most memorable thing about a mostly unforgettable night at Barclays Center. It was the first clash between the new-look Nets and the back-to-back defending NBA champions and it was terrible even by preseason-game standards. The Nets defeated the Heat 86-62.
Miami’s regular-season opener against the Bulls on Oct. 29 can’t get here fast enough, but, alas, there are still three more preseason games on the Heat’s schedule. A few signs the Heat has played two too many preseason games already:
Dwyane Wade did not play against the Nets, missing his third game this preseason. Wade’s pattern of inactivity suggests Saturday’s game against the Spurs at AmericanAirlines Arena will be his final action of the preseason. He likely will not play Wednesday in New Orleans and chances are good that he also will skip the final game of the preseason against the Nets next Friday in Miami.
Although the Heat mostly went through the motions against the Nets on Kidd’s big night of the preseason, Pierce at least made an effort to physically express his disapproval with comments James made on Wednesday about Pierce and Kevin Garnett leaving Boston for Brooklyn. Pierce slammed into James in the first quarter to prevent a transition bucket and delivered another hard shot to James in the third quarter.
On Wednesday, James suggested Pierce and Garnett were hypocrites for leaving Boston one year after Pierce and Garnett were critical of Ray Allen leaving Boston for the Heat.
“The first thing that I thought was like, ‘Wow, Ray got killed for leaving Boston, and now these guys are leaving Boston,’ ” James said. “I think it’s OK. I don’t mind it, but there were a couple guys that basically [criticized] Ray for leaving and everybody else is leaving.”
James and Chris Bosh led the Heat with 16 points each and were the only players for the Heat to score in double digits. Chalmers had nine points. Center Brook Lopez led the Nets with 14 points.
In addition to Wade, the following regular-rotation players did not play for the Heat: Udonis Haslem, Chris Andersen, Rashard Lewis, who the team said is away for personal reasons, Michael Beasley and Ray Allen. Andrei Kirilenko, Deron Williams and Jason Terry did not play for the Nets.
No setback for Oden
Although Greg Oden said on Wednesday that he was disappointed his left knee responded poorly to his first five-on-five practice, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra refused to call the swelling a step backward in Oden’s attempt at a comeback.
“Actually he’s making a lot of progress,” Spoelstra said. “The fact that he’s out here with our guys at this time is ahead of schedule, but we want to temper those expectations. We’re thinking big picture with this and we’re going to move very patiently.”