BROOKLYN—Between the two of them, Jason Kidd and Mark Jackson accounted for 22,425 assists in their illustrious NBA careers.
Jackson added to his total Wednesday night. Kidd was the beneficiary.
Jackson, speaking before the Nets rallied from a 16-point first-quarter deficit to snap the Warriors 10-game win streak with a 102-98 win in Barclays Center, expressed his unwavering belief in Kidd’s ability to coach.
Suddenly it is the Nets – with a season-high four straight wins – that is the team on a streak. They are 14-21 on the season and evened their record in Barclays Center at 9-9.
The win moved them into the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and just three and one-half games behind the Toronto Raptors for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Kidd has done this despite a mind-boggling list of injuries, several to star players.
“He played the point guard position at as high a level as you could possibly play it,’’ said Jackson. “He’s not just an all-time great point guard, he’s an all-time great player.”
“He’s been a coach on every team he’s played on. He won a championship being an offensive coordinator with all due respect to Rick Carlisle, but I’m sure he will tell you the same thing.’’
Kidd also got an assist of his own, saying that Jackson’s success (Jackson is 94-92) inspired him to go into coaching. He also got the win.
Kevin Garnett, playing his best game of the season, made the key steal with 12 seconds remaining and converted two clutch free throws with 8.5 seconds left.
KG scored 13 points, grabbed five rebounds and made four steals. He scored 11 in the fourth quarter.
“Jason called some plays for me,’’ said Garnett. “Like I said, I work on my craft everyday so I expect when I dial her I want her to pick the phone up. Tonight I dialed her, she was right there, like she’s supposed to.’’
Kidd said he has spoken to Jackson frequently since becoming the Nets coach over the summer.
“Mark is my role model,’’ said Kidd. “He’s gone from playing to becoming a head coach and become a very good head coach.’’
“I’ve talked to him throughout this season. I’m happy for his success. And he’s given us, guys who have retired from playing an opportunity to do something, and that’s hopefully become a coach like him.’’
Kidd is second on the league’s career assist list with 12,091. Jackson is third at 10,334.
“I guess our stories are similar,’’ said Jackson. “I don’t have a championship but I took pride in running teams and I truly believe that Jason Kidd did not have to be an assistant coach to become a head coach because I watched him run teams. I’ve played against teams that he was orchestrating. I got a lot of respect for him. I’m pulling for him. I really am.’’
Jackson wasn’t pulling for him Wednesday night, of course. The Warriors were seeking to tie a franchise record for consecutive wins at 11 and set an NBA record by going 7-0 on this road trip.
The Nets prevailed because in addition to KG, Joe Johnson scored 27 points and Andrei Kirilenko did so much more than what appears on the stat sheet. Kirilenko scored eight points, grabbed six rebounds and settled the Nets when they fell behind early.
Stephen Curry wowed the crowd with a game-high 34 for the Warriors, who lost for the first time since Dec. 19. The Nets have beaten two of the top teams in the league – Oklahoma City and Golden State – on this win streak.
“The confidence is in the fight,’’ Garnett said when asked to explain the difference in this team over the last 10 days. “Jason’s done a great job of just continuing to explain what he wants out of this offense and I think we’re picking it up slowly but surely.’’
That wouldn’t surprise Jackson in the least.