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Lionel Hollins hints at why he had Bojan Bogdanovic on the bench ... and why he left the podium

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Lionel Hollins provided a head-scratching response Wednesday night when asked why red-hot Bojan Bogdanovic saw so little time in the last minutes of the Nets overtime loss to Mavericks.

"Well, I could just say coach’s decision, which it was. And I’ll just leave it at that." he said.  He was asked again and said "I don't want to talk about it" and then walked off.

Of course, he asked again on Thursday about both the decision not to play Bogie ... and his limited response.  He essentially hinted he didn't want to embarrass Bogdanovic, who had played well offensively but has been liability on D.

As  Erik Bacharach of Newsday quoted him at length....

"I have to coach those guys every day. And they got to believe in me and trust what I’m saying, and that I care about them as well. And in doing that, I have to try and protect them. Simple as that. So there’s a lot of questions you may ask me and think I should answer, but from my perspective, I know I shouldn’t answer them. Because I’m thinking about them.

"I make a lot of decisions during the course of the game. Some people object to some of them, especially fans, but I can’t coach to the fans. And I don’t have to answer to the fans. I really don’t . . . Whether 20 million people want to know the answer, if I choose not to answer, that’s my prerogative."

As Bacharach noted, Hollins used "prerogative" five times in his comments about his decision.

Bogdanovic didn't object, at least publicly...

"Honestly, that’s the coach’s decision," Bogdanovic said. "The guys on the court did a great job. So did that lineup to close the game to get a win. I don’t have any problem with that. I respect the coach’s decision."

Meanwhile, Hollins and others talked about how a team meeting and film session after the loss to the Timberwolves had reinvigorated the team.

"It wasn’t tactical: It was knowing where you’re supposed to be, and then being there," Hollins said. "But they all acknowledged their mistakes, and they talked about it and then went about it that night. You could see a difference on the court, the way they played, did all of this and did all of that."