After spilling soda during the Lakers game, Jason Kidd is cleaning up the mess he made.
HOUSTON – At about the same time he was being criticized by Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni for dropping the Coke, Jason Kidd tried to push the storyline past Soda-Gate while defending his actions as part of the job.
“It’s about trying to win and those guys in that locker room,” Kidd said when asked if he regretted the tactic. “I tried to put those guys in a position to get a basket, a good look, and we did.”
Kidd, a rookie coach, was fined $ 50,000 by the NBA for purposefully spilling his soda for a pseudo timeout. After the game Wednesday, he said it was an accident due to “sweaty palms.” That story changed before Friday’s game against the Rockets, though, when Kidd didn’t deny the charges from the NBA. He initially said “there is no response (to the league’s decision), you just pay it,” but opened up a little when peppered with questions.
“Paul got a great look and the league fined me for something I probably shouldn’t have done,” Kidd said. “We move on.”
The video demonstrated that Kidd acted alone on the sideline with 8.3 seconds left remaining in the loss to the Lakers, picking up a cup behind a courtside seat and telling Nets guard Tyshawn Taylor to “hit me,” creating the spill and the delay.
While the mess was being cleaned up, Nets assistant John Welch drew up a final with a group of players, as a couple of the Lakers broke into the huddle to listen to the plan. Paul Pierce eventually missed the game-tying 3-pointer in the final seconds. Nets lead assistant Lawrence Frank looked on in apparent shock as the drink spilled.
Asked if there’s something he learned from the situation, Kidd said blankly, “No.”
“It’s over with. That’s behind me. There’s nothing to really talk about. It’s done, so I’ve got to move forward with it.”
D’Antoni, however, who was raising his hands in frustration on the sideline as the soda was being soaked up from the court, derided the tactic as “crazy.”
“I knew he was going to get caught,” D’Antoni told reporters in Detroit. “He can’t do that. That’s crazy. It’s cute for a lot of people but he can’t do that.”
“I don’t buy (that he did it by accident). I don’t think that’s very savvy or cool. I love Jason to death. He’s going to be a great coach. But you don’t do that.”
Rockets coach Kevin McHale wasn’t exactly rushing to Kidd’s defense, either. Asked twice about the strategy of stalling by spilling a drink, McHale responded with a one-word answer alluding to the $ 50,000 fine: “Expensive.”
Kidd said he learned the strategy from coaches and owners throughout the league, and Mark Cuban provided an example Friday evening. The Mavericks owner tweeted out a video of the Bulls seemingly employing the same tactic in a 2009 game in Dallas. Kidd was a point guard with the Mavericks at the time and was on the court as a drink was spilled near Chicago coach Del Harris in the final seconds of overtime, prompting a delay.
“Who was the first coach to spill a Coke to get a timeout?” Cuban tweeted.
Regardless, Kidd was the first to get caught. He wants to move on.