There was only about a minute left in the third quarter when the chants of “Fire Kidd” briefly ran through the crowd at Barclays Center on Christmas Day, a loud commentary on the fate of first-year coach Jason Kidd if the fans got what they wanted under their trees.
When that chant failed to catch on, the fans instead took to intermittently booing the entire team.
After the game, an exasperated Kidd called his players out in the locker room, according to an ESPN report.
"At the end of the day, the coach can only hold you responsible for energy and effort," he said. "If you're not giving it, I have to take you out. If you're missing shots, that's just part of the game. But if you're not giving energy or effort, I've got to take you out."
Not only did Kidd chew out the team, but team leader, Kevin Garnett, reportedly vented his own frustration with the listless team before hitting the showers.
Tired and upset with a lack of effort, Kidd's outburst came after the Nets dropped their fourth straight game. The first-year head coach said Monday after a 103-86 loss to Indiana that the Nets were becoming too comfortable with losing. He said it again on Christmas Day.
"I think again, it's easy, it's simple," Kidd told reporters after Wednesday's rout. "When we don't put the ball in the basket or we miss shots that are makeable, it translates to our defense of transition for us where we'll give up a layup and then that turns into another layup for the opposing team. ... That is the carryover of missing shots and not giving the effort. The bottom line is effort, and we're not doing that right now."
The Nets signed a group of All-Stars and high-priced veterans in direct response to the humbling Game 7 loss to Chicago in the playoffs last season, acquiring superstars Garnett and Paul Pierce, among others.
But the team has been ravaged by injuries to key players, including Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Pierce,Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko. Lopez broke his foot Friday and has been ruled out for remainder of the season.
The Nets wanted to increase their toughness by adjusting an attitude and identity that Kidd described as “vanilla” when he arrived.
You could say he got a big bowl of Rocky Road instead.