Jess Rapfogel/Getty ImagesThe NBA was not a fan of the Brooklyn Nets’ decision to rest or limit the playing time of several key players during their Dec. 27 game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Per a statement from the NBA, the Nets have been fined $100,000 for violating the league’s player participation policy following an investigation that included a review from an independent physician into the health of the players held out of the game.
NBA Communications @NBAPRThe following has been released by the NBA. pic.twitter.com/lAmgjUwxZt
Brooklyn’s matchup with the Bucks came on the second night of a back-to-back. The team announced a few hours before tipoff that Spencer Dinwiddie, Nic Claxton and Cameron Johnson would sit out. Dorian Finney-Smith was ruled out later in the day.
Mikal Bridges, who has never missed a game in his NBA career and has made 299 consecutive starts dating back to Jan. 28, 2020, started against the Bucks. He didn’t return to the game after playing the entire first quarter.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Bridges said he “didn’t like the choice” and seemed to be caught off guard by the decision.
Zach Braziller @NYPost_BrazilleMikal Bridges: “Didn’t like the choice and whatever that was. But it’s whatever. Definitely was not a fan.”
Did you need a rest:
“No, never do.” #nets
Royce O’Neale and Cam Thomas also sat out the final three quarters after playing most of the first quarter.
Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn defended the decision to hold out or limit the playing time for most of his key players.
“I have too much respect for the dudes that suit up and put their body on the line and the competition level to even mention the word exhibition,” he said. “Any guy could have ended their career tonight by one play and so I treat it as such. It is an honor, it is, I don’t know, a sense of gratitude that you do this for a living and you never, ever underestimate that. If you do, you’ll pay for it.”
The game was competitive for a while, even with the Bucks having their full complement of stars available, before Milwaukee finally pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 144-122 win.
Brooklyn is in the midst of a five-game losing streak that started against the Bucks. It will look to end this recent skid on Friday against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Barclays Center.