Jason Kidd found out he won Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for March Tuesday and did his best to downplay winning the award for the second time this season.
In a month that saw the Nets win 12 of 16 games without Kevin Garnett, Kidd became the first coach in franchise history to win NBA Coach of the Month in an organization that has had Larry Brown, Bill Fitch and Chuck Daly leading it at various points of its history.
“I think it’s not the coaching award, it’s the way the guys are playing,” Kidd said. “The guys are playing great. My job is to stay out of their way, so it’s a great honor for those guys. Unfortunately they put the coach’s name on it.”
The trust and process of becoming a team resulted in the Nets matching their most victories for March in their NBA history. It also resulted in seven wins in eight games against teams with winning records and that led Kidd to join Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau in becoming the second rookie coach to win the honor twice since the 1982-83 season.
Kidd has won many awards as a player but in keeping with the theme of downplaying things, he said that the only ones that really meant anything to him were winning the gold medal in 2000 and 2008 as well as his championship ring with Dallas from 2011.
“Anything else is just part of the game,” Kidd said. “Coach of the Month is great but it’s about the guys in that locker room. They’re playing at a high level and again I just have to stay out of their way.
If Kidd was willing to deflect the credit, others in the coaching fraternity were willing to offer praise, including Kevin McHale, who coached his 315th game Tuesday.
“He’s done a great job,” McHale said. “For any coach you’re trying to put guys in position to succeed. As it happens every year, you have stuff that looks good on paper, you try this, you try that. Eventually you find something and Jason’s been playing basketball in the NBA a long time and he understands the game and he’s going to find a situation where he gets comfortable in.”
Howard misses game
Dwight Howard did not take the court in Brooklyn for the second straight season.
Howard missed Tuesday’s game with a sore left ankle which required fluid to be drained for the second time this season. But this time he appears to be healthier than he was a year ago with the Lakers when he was coming off back surgery and played in 76 games.
“Every time you have something happen, it just reflects the miles on our league,” McHale said. “Once you put miles on you, it’s hard to get back, but I can tell you he’s way healthier than he is last summer. Until his ankle started bothering him, I thought he was moving very, very well.”
Howard sat out when the Lakers visited Brooklyn on Feb. 5, 2013. That was because of a sore right shoulder and it came as a bit of a surprise since the Nets talked about Howard in practice the previous day.
This time there was little suspense since the Rockets announced Monday that Howard would sit out.
This delays Howard’s Brooklyn debut until next season, though two years ago, his name constantly came up in trade rumors before the massive four-team deal that sent him to the Lakers two summers ago.
Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.