Andrei Kirilenko, also known as "plan A+" when he was acquired by the Nets this offseason for the mini-midlevel exception, didn't get off to a great start in his first postseason game with Brooklyn. By a poor start, he didn't get in.
Kirilenko was glued to the bench in the Nets 94-87 game one win over the Raptors in Toronto which led to him saying he was "a little bit surprised" about not playing.
Kirilenko, though, said he wasn't upset about coach Jason Kidd's call. "When I watched the game everybody played so well," Kirilenko told writers at the PNY Center, "I didn't even see a position for me to fill-in because Terrence Ross obviously got two quick fouls, (DeMar) DeRozan didn't have a great game and they played a small lineup with Kyle Lowry, (Greivs) Vasquez and even (Nando) De Colo at three and two big guys, so (there) wasn't really a place for me on the floor, to be honest."
Kirilenko played in only 45 games this season, his lowest mark since the 2004-2005 season, but was getting healthy just before the playoffs and many thought that his playoff experience would be useful off the bench. The Raptors also have two emerging scorers on the wings in Ross and DeRozan, so Kirilenko's fine defense could have been used on them. However, it was Alan Anderson who was the first man off the bench and played 19 minutes against his former club. It was Anderson's first playoff game.
Kirilenko noted that this team is very deep and it is tough for everyone to get time. "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."
In regards to Kirilenko's benching, Kidd said, "It wasn’t predetermined. 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. AK didn’t get in. That doesn’t mean that he’s not going to play any of this series," Kidd said about his team's depth and his Russian forward not playing. "That’s just one game. We got the win, now we move on. Every game is going to be different."
During the game, Kirilenko's wife, Masha Lopatova had some words about her husband's benching.
— Brooklyn Nets Source (@NetsSource) April 19, 2014
Kirilenko said of the Instagram post on Sunday morning, "She wanted me to play. I spoke with her, and she said she was surprised but she’s a fan." Masha has been sitting courtside with Dmitry Razumov, Mikhail Prokhorov's No. 2, recently.
Later, Mike Mazzeo reports, she wrote to fans: "I don’t want to say anything bad, but just think about 350 million Russian fans back in Russia cheering for the one Russian player in the playoffs (not to mention Russian community and Russian ownership) that hurts!!!" (Well, not quite 350 million.)
In other news out of the Nets practice, Paul Pierce, asked about Masai Ujiri's comment, responded, "Really? I’m shocked that Bryan Colangelo would say that." BANG!
- Andrei Kirilenko 'a little bit suprised' about DNP for Brooklyn Nets - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Brooklyn Nets Paul Pierce on Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri: Who? - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Paul Pierce thrives in playoff pressure - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Pierce pleads ignorance of Raptors GM’s ‘F— Brooklyn’ rant - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Raptors GM Masai Ujiri embarrasses self while Nets are off to perfect start - Mitch Lawrence - New York Daily News
- Paul Pierce, Deron Williams and Nets brimming with confidence following Game 1 - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- Andrei Kirilenko's benching by Jason Kidd doesn't sit well with Nets forward's wife - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News