In 2002 the Nets had visited the postseason only briefly a few times before. Their longest NBA postseason run had been 5 seasons in a row, back in the "glory" years of the early 80s, when they lost in the first round every time except 84, when they bowed out in the second. (They did make the postseason 7 times in a row in the ABA, winning it twice.)
Their last post season run had been 92-94, when they lost in the first round all 3 times (Cleveland twice and the Knicks). Their last post season appearance had been in 98 against the Bulls, with the predictable and by now traditional first round exit.
In comes Kidd into a group of demoralized, injury prone but very talented young players and BOOM (thanks John Madden) - two Finals appearances in a row, one which they could well have won, four in a row after that, during which they made it past the first round twice.
This will go down as the first Golden Era of the Nets. The Jason Kidd Era.
Kidd is gone. So are the Nets.
Before he came the Nets were an embarrassment. As if to verify and drive home that point, the Nets were an embarrassment tonite.
Tonite, after amassing an 11 point lead in the 2nd, just let go of the rope, as the selfsame Jkidd opined earlier in the season.
That made it official - no postseason for the Nets.
Despite an incredibly weak East, despite the fact that .500 (like last year) would give you the
7 seed and 2 over (like 2005) would give you the 6, this team had underperformed and been miscoached so badly that even that was not possible. Atlanta will make the playoffs with under 40 wins. The Nets could not even manage 40. With this roster, JKidd notwithstanding.
Despite just being cannon fodder for the carpetbagger Celtics, even that modest goal could not be reached.
A fitting end to a bad season.