Nets head coach Jason Kidd wasn’t specifically asked about officiating in Game 5 but unprompted he referred to Joe Johnson attempting only one free throw as “mind-boggling.”
Kidd was then asked asked if he would encourage Johnson to sell the contact a little more for emphasis.
“If flopping is the way to go then we have to maybe play the game,” Kidd said. “But Joe is a strong individual and unfortunately, he doesn’t flop. He plays and he doesn’t complain. But that’s why we have officials — for them to make calls.”
Kidd said he felt guard Shaun Livingston was fouled directly in front of the officials on the last possession and the Nets didn’t get a call.
“That’s their interpretation,” Kidd said. “That’s why we have the best referees in professional sports. If he calls it, he calls it. If not, they don’t. They don’t see if it was a foul or not. So you got to play. That just happens.”
Still Kidd isn’t harping on the lack of calls, merely telling his team they need to keep attacking the rim — whistle or no whistle.
“We got to keep attacking,” he said. “If there’s no call made, we got to keep playing. We can’t fall into complaining. We just got to play the game and if it’s called, it’s called.”
Kidd’s comments are nothing new for this series. Toronto was upset about the 6-1 foul disparity against them in Game 1 and a foul and technical on guard Greivis Vasquez late in Game 3.
If the Nets are going to extend their season to Sunday, head coach Jason Kidd hopes the fourth quarter from Game 5 will have a carryover effect.
“We have to build on that fourth quarter,” Kidd said during Thursday’s conference call. “We did a lot of good things offensively but also defensively. We did some of the good things when we got stops and we were attacking but we got to start the game off that way tomorrow night. We got to be in attack mode for 48 minutes.”
Despite being down by as many as 26, the Nets had a chance to return home Friday for Game 6 with a chance to close out the series. Instead the season will be on the line for the second straight postseason at the Barclays Center.
The Nets escaped Game 3 with a four-point win despite blowing two 15-point leads in the final 5 1/2 minutes. The narrow win seemed to impact Game 4 when the Nets spent most of the night catching up. Once they caught up, they were unable to sustain it, scoring two points in the final six-plus minutes.
Last night, the Nets put together an all-time great fourth quarter and not just in their franchise history. The 44 points were a playoff record for the franchise and the most in a postseason game since the 2001 76ers scored 46 in a 110-100 loss at Milwaukee in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Unlike those 76ers, the Nets do not have the luxury of losing to force a tie and a Game 7 at home. Last year the Nets responded by escaping Game 6 in Chicago with a 95-92 victory decided by two free throws by Andray Blatche.
Blatche was involved in the bizarre ending Wednesday. Blatche purposely missed a second foul shot with 4.9 seconds left but made an ill-fated off-balance pass that became a backcourt violation.
Veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were on the bench for the final seconds, and in fact the entire fourth quarter. The group that got the Nets back in the game was Blatche, Williams, Johnson, Mirza Teletovic and Alan Anderson, who combined to shoot 13-of-21 while holding the Raptors to 24 points on 6-of-16 shooting.
“This is about the Brooklyn Nets,” Kidd said. “This is not about two guys on the team and those guys were cheering on the guys that were on the floor.”
Garnett played 12 minutes, his lowest in a playoff game. Pierce was a minus-31 and had 10 points in 24 minutes.
Neither player said they were upset Wednesday and Kidd said he didn’t considering bringing them in for the final inbounds play.
“We have confidence that [Pierce or Garnett] can be on the floor late in games,” Kidd said. “We have confidence when [they are] on the floor, good things happen. The game got out of hand in the second half where the guys were playing well and then we get back in the game my decision was to go with those guys again to find a way to win and we had a great opportunity to win a Game 5 on the road.”
Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.