Nets' Jason Kidd First Rookie Coach to Win a Game 7 on the Road

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Nets' Jason Kidd First Rookie Coach to Win a Game 7 on the Road
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

With Sunday's narrow 104-103 victory in Toronto, the Nets' Jason Kidd became the first rookie head coach in NBA history to win a Game 7 on the road, per ESPN Stats & Info.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau (h/t ESPN.com), before Kidd the previous 18 first-year coaches to enter an opponent's building for Game 7 lost by an average of 11.2 points.

While Brooklyn began the season with heightened expectations on the heels of acquiring future Hall of Famers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett during the offseason, Kidd's credentials to lead the hopeful title contenders were put into question.

Kidd was coming off an accomplished 19-year playing career that included an NBA Championship, five nods to the All-NBA First Team and 10 All-Star Game appearances. Nevertheless, Kidd held no previous coaching experience.

Surprising even the most pessimistic of detractors, the Nets limped out to a 10-21 record through the end of December as Kidd learned the ropes of coaching.

Over this span, Kidd served a two-game DUI suspension to begin the season, then was fined $50,000 for spilling a cup of soda on the court in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers. On Dec. 3, Kidd re-assigned top assistant Lawrence Frank to a reduced role evaluating opposing teams.

However, once the calendar turned to 2014, Kidd's club turned their season around by going 34-17 in the new year, ultimately landing Brooklyn the Eastern Conference's No. 6 seed with a final record of 44-38.

That positioning earned the Nets a first-round matchup with the third-seeded Raptors, a series that went the distance to reach Sunday's Game 7.

After a turbulent first year of coaching, Kidd's one-point, series-clinching win secured him another place in NBA history, this time among the ranks of rookie coaches.

His reward? A second-round matchup against the two-time defending-champion Miami Heat.

 

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