BROOKLYN - Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd has been accused of being an overprotective parent this season.
He reduced Kevin Garnett’s minutes and limited the number of times the veteran forward played in back-to-back games.
He erred on the side of caution when Deron Williams (ankle injuries) and Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms) went down.
He kept Paul Pierce out the lineup in early December when the veteran forward was itching to come back early from a broken bone in his hand.
Anyone who criticized Kidd for his cautious approach got a reality check Sunday evening in Barclays Center.
In the Nets, 97-88 win over the Orlando Magic that all but locked up the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference, two plays sent shivers of fear down the spine of every fan from the Bronx to Queens and throughout Brooklyn.
Kevin Garnett, who missed 19 games with back spasms, came crashing down on his backside, flipping over Orlando’s Dewayne Dedmon in the first half.
And Pierce, who suffered several stingers in his right neck/shoulder, took a shot in that area from the 6-10, 250-pound Kyle O’Quinn in the second half.
Both players avoided injury but it easily could have been disaster for Brooklyn, which improved to 44-36 with the win over the Magic. The idle Washington Wizards are in sixth place at 42-38.
The Nets would have to lose their last two and the Wizards would have to win their last two to knock Brooklyn out of the No. 5 seed
If the season ended today the Nets would face the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs. Playoff tickets are on sale at Brooklynnets.com
Mirza Teletovic, on 4-of-7 shooting on 3s, led the Nets with 20 points. Joe Johnson and Mason Plumlee each scored 17 points. Deron Williams added 16 points, five assists and four steals.