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Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett didn’t come to the arena for Nets’ loss to Clippers

Nov 17, 2013, 6:30 PM EDT

Newly acquired Net's NBA players attend a news conference introducing them to the media in Brooklyn Reuters

Most of the time in the NBA, if a team’s star players are going to miss a game due to injury, they will still accompany their teammates to the arena and either receive treatment in the locker room while the game is going on, or wear a suit and represent on the sidelines.

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, apparently, are two of the exceptions.

Neither was healthy enough to face their former head coach Doc Rivers on Saturday in Los Angeles, after playing heavy minutes the night before during an overtime win in Phoenix. And thanks to a policy Rivers himself put in place in Boston, neither player bothered to make the trip to Staples Center to support their teammates.

From J.A. Adande of ESPN.com:

It would have made for some good TV video to get shots of Garnett and Pierce hugging their old mentor before or after the game, but the individuals involved didn’t need it. They stay in touch through their cell phones (Rivers prefers texting, because he says it doesn’t allow Garnett to swear at him as much). Garnett and Pierce weren’t even in Staples Center for the Clippers’ victory over the depleted Nets. Their absence in itself was just like the old days.

“I know when Kevin doesn’t play he never comes to the game,” Rivers said. “Paul either for that matter. That’s something we set up in Boston.

Now the Brooklyn Nets have to deal with it.”

This isn’t to rip the Nets or these two veteran superstars, but it is an interesting look at the way things are handled from team to team around the league.

Rivers has always been a players’ coach, and giving veterans a perk like that on a team that has strong leadership from the head coaching position makes some sense. Gregg Popovich in San Antonio has famously flown players home after shootaround in advance of a road game where they aren’t going to play.

But on a team like the Nets that has a ton of new pieces and is trying to establish both locker room chemistry and a way of doing things under an unproven rookie head coach, one would think it might be a good idea to stick around and use that time to bond a little, even if they’re unable to play due to injury.

  1. legend30 - Nov 17, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    The Nets are old. I know I should become an NBA analyst.

  2. grcarlson12 - Nov 17, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Well this may not be the best place to leave my comment but …. that’s part of my complaint. Nobody has noticed. Especially the people who write this blog. But … The Portland Trailblazers have the 2nd best record in the Western Conference. The 3rd best record in the league. And they don’t even get a mention?

    I mean ok it’s early in the year. They haven’t been playing many of the leagues best teams. But not mention here. And we’re getting columns about whether or not Kevin Garnett is getting his butt massaged back in the locker room or not. Really.

  3. JHathwell - Nov 17, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    This team is like an old car. Just give them some time to warm up & they’ll be fine.

    • legend30 - Nov 17, 2013 at 7:52 PM

      No. That car is too old, it needs new: windows, seats, tires, engine, steering wheel, body paint, tail light, bumper, and door handles. In that case, you mind as well get a new car. Perfect way to describe the Nets and…… Knicks.

      • JHathwell - Nov 17, 2013 at 8:19 PM

        Nah, this team will be fine. Knicks wont.

    • redbaronx - Nov 17, 2013 at 10:30 PM

      @JHathwell – I agree with Legend30. This car has too many old parts. I doubt the Nets will pose any serious threat this year.

      • JHathwell - Nov 18, 2013 at 3:32 PM

        Do you not remember the Celtics starting like this every year? 2012 they were 4-8 at the start and ended up taking Miami to 8 games in the ECF, and this team is significantly more talented than that one was.

        The key here is Williams. If he still can go this team will make noise. If he’s finished or simply unmotivated, they won’t do much.

      • redbaronx - Nov 19, 2013 at 2:43 PM

        @JHathwell – I remember very well how the Celtics beat time! But you have to remember that time catches up to everyone. Otherwise you’d have 80 year olds playing. The swan song was supposed to be a couple of years ago for Garnett and Pierce. It’s reached that time.

        I think we pretty much saw Deron’s motivation level last season. Don’t expect that to improve. And last but not least, there’s a rookie coach on board who has never coached and has had personal issues.

        Too many issues!

      • JHathwell - Nov 19, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        we’ll see. I still figure this team for 50 wins and come playoff time, they’ll be the team nobody wants to face.

    • philtration - Nov 18, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      In the real world old cars may be fun to look at and they can even bring back good memories but they are rusted, unreliable and not very good to use as an everyday way of getting to where you want to go.

      I guess you were half right.

      • JHathwell - Nov 18, 2013 at 3:36 PM

        I’m not sure why anyone would be so negative toward a team that won 49 games last year and made several significant additions.

        Look, it’s a new coach, a new system and a largely new roster. Let’s not act like we know everything after 9 games.

  4. jerdogthompson - Nov 17, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    U wish. More like give it time to break down.

    • JHathwell - Nov 17, 2013 at 8:45 PM

      Why would I wish?

  5. jimeejohnson - Nov 17, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    Both player live in the Smell-A area in the off season. Hence, they hung out at home, probably near the Pacific Ocean, and probably eating something with avocado.

  6. kjereld615 - Nov 17, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    This team has all the talent to win, however it is showing that they just don’t have the coach to do so. Jason Kidd was an amazing player if you ignore last season. He has multiple records down in the books and the respect of all around him, what he is showing not to have is the ability to be a winning coach. Anybody can coach a team but not everybody can coach in a way that can put your team in the best position to win the game. The Nets are just playing isolation plays and that it. The ball is not swinging from side to side but instead sitting in one part of the court. They need to play unselfish and Williams needs to play like the point guard we know him to be. Until Jason figures out how to become a wining coach and coaches this team up this slow start will end in a messy finish.

  7. legend30 - Nov 17, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    Look I’m just going to say this right now and again. Nets’ look fantastic on paper because the star names. But don’t forget K. Garnett (37) and P. Pierce (36) has played A LOT of minutes. Not only they played A LOT of minutes, A LOT of those minutes came from the playoffs, where 4 quarters in the playoffs, is basically playing 6 quarters. I’ll be honest, I thought they were going to be the 4th seed, but man they are looking OLD! The season is still young; however, the Nets will stay old.

  8. misterdreamer119 - Nov 17, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    They are old and Williams is injury prone.

  9. kavika6 - Nov 18, 2013 at 5:44 AM

    I guess the two arrogant jerks had something better to do. They sure aren’t good team leaders.

  10. cruzan80 - Nov 18, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    Called this in like July. This team would have been my favorite in the East….if the season ended in December. But since it doesnt…they were the champs of the summer.

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