NEW YORK -- Following the Brooklyn Nets' embarrassing 95-78 Christmas Day loss to the Chicago Bulls, an exasperated Jason Kidd called his players out in the locker room, according to multiple league sources.
Tired and upset with a lack of effort, Kidd's outburst came after the Nets dropped their fourth straight game, sources say. The first-year head coach said Monday after a 103-86 loss to Indiana that the Nets were becoming too comfortable with losing.
The frustration is mounting. According to league sources, after Kidd yelled at the team on Wednesday, Kevin Garnett stood up and vented his frustration before walking out to the showers. Multiple sources stressed Garnett backs Kidd and that the veteran's frustration has been building over some of his teammates' lack of fight after the Nets lost by 17 points for the second straight game.
Sources also said Garnett's walking out was viewed as him being one of the few Nets to care about the team's downward spiral.
Many times this season, the Nets (9-19) have looked like a team going through the motions, especially in monumental third-quarter collapses. Against Chicago, the Nets surrendered 36 points in the frame to the Derrick Rose-less Bulls. They trailed by as many as 23 on their home court.
"I think again, it's easy, it's simple," Kidd told reporters after Wednesday's rout. "When we don't put the ball in the basket or we miss shots that are makeable, it translates to our defense of transition for us where we'll give up a layup and then that turns into another layup for the opposing team. ... That is the carryover of missing shots and not giving the effort. The bottom line is effort, and we're not doing that right now.
"At the end of the day, the coach can only hold you responsible for energy and effort," Kidd said. "If you're not giving it, I have to take you out. If you're missing shots, that's just part of the game. But if you're not giving energy or effort, I've got to take you out."
The Nets entered the season with championship expectations after acquiring Paul Pierce and Garnett in the offseason. But it has been a tumultuous season for the team with the highest payroll in the NBA.
The Nets have been ravaged by injuries to players, including Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Pierce, Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko. Lopez broke his foot Friday and has been ruled out for remainder of the season.
Kidd also demoted top assistant Lawrence Frank earlier in the month after there was friction between the two and a difference of agendas.
"I'm even surprised with this season, how it's played out. It's like a nightmare," Williams said after the latest blowout loss. "The way the injuries have been and the things we talk about every day: the lack of energy, the lack of effort. I didn't see that being a problem when we put this team together."
What Kidd said he has not been able to stomach is the team's almost apathetic approach when adversity hits in a game and the opponent makes a run against them.
"I think it is getting very close to just accepting losing," Kidd said of the mental state of the team on Monday. "We are kind of getting comfortable with losing."
"And we got to make a stand with that because when things get tough, do we just give in?" Kidd continued. "And most of the time right now, we do."
Garnett and Williams disagreed and said they don't accept losing. But the Nets were still blown out by Chicago. Now it remains to be seen if Kidd's postgame locker room yelling will jumpstart the Nets, who face Milwaukee at home on Friday.
"I'm very surprised," Pierce said of the team's struggles. "We've just got to be able to weather the storm. We've got to be more mentally tough. You can't get down when things don't go your way. You've got to continue to fight."
"I think it's just that we lose confidence, like we are expecting things to go south," Pierce added. "But you've got to keep your head up at the end of the day. It's embarrassing to lose on Christmas and in front of millions of people watching, but I'm not going to keep my head down. That's the way we've got to be out there on the court. We've got to continue to keep pushing."
Information from ESPNNewYork.com Mike Mazzeo was used in this report.