Did Nets coach Jason Kidd instruct one of his players to run into him so that he could gain an extra timeout by intentionally spilling his soda on the court?
Yes, that's a real question that needs to be asked after a wild finish to the Nets' 99-94 home loss to the Lakers on Wednesday night.
With 8.3 seconds remaining and the Lakers leading 96-94, Jodie Meeks prepared to take the second of two free throws. Without any timeouts remaining, Kidd began a conversation with second-year guard Tyshawn Taylor while holding a plastic cup of soda and ice in his right hand. Taylor bumped into Kidd's arm during the conversation, causing the soda to spill on the court, and Kidd initially bent over as if he was going to scoop up the ice cubes and cup before an official stopped the game so that an attendant could clean up the mess. Silly party foul, right?
Maybe not. TheBrooklynGame.com reviewed the tape (see above) and concluded that Kidd apparently said "Hit me" to Taylor before the soda-spilling collision. Why cause such a mess? Two possible reasons: 1) to ice Meeks on his second free throw and 2) to draw up a play for Brooklyn's final, game-deciding offensive possession.
Kidd said the spill was accidental during his postgame comments, according to TheBrooklynGame.
"Cup slipped out of my hand I was getting Ty," Kidd said. "Sweaty palms. I was never good with the ball."
"In the heat of the battle, you're trying to get guys in and out of the game, and the cup fell out of my hand."
The New York Post reported Taylor's take.
"Coach is drinking a soda on the sideline … I was like, ‘What’s he doing?’"
"It could ice a free throw shooter and be a timeout when you don’t have one, but that wasn’t the thought process."
Here's an animated look at Kidd's mouth movements, the spillage and his reaction.
Stunt or not, the Nets fell to 4-11 after Paul Pierce was unable to hit a potential game-tying three-pointer during Brooklyn's last possession.
Assuming Kidd did this intentionally and the referees had caught it, he surely would have been assessed a technical foul for delaying the game. One wonders whether the NBA league office will investigate the incident.
The other question here, assuming this was intentional: Should Kidd have burned this tactic so early in the season? The Nets badly need a win, but this is a technique that can't possibly be used more than once by the same coach. Maybe he should have saved it for the playoffs?