Wednesday, May 25, 2011

T.E.A.M. ... but I love Jason Kidd

My wife can attest that the two most common things I say during Mavericks games are “Kidd wants the ball” (whenever I seem him run down a loose ball) and “I love watching Jason Kidd play basketball.” I’m the proud owner of a commemorative opening night towel from Kidd’s first NBA game in November 1994, when he missed a triple-double by one rebound, I believe. My brother and I got cheap tickets in the upper deck end zone, and I’ve been in love with Kidd’s game ever since.

It still boggles my mind that the Mavericks let coach Jim Cleamons push to trade Kidd in 1997, and I was a big advocate of getting him back a couple of years ago, even if it did cost us Devin Harris.

Dirk is having a spectacular playoff run this year, but you could the Mavericks’ quality as a team summed up in their last offensive possession, when Jason Kidd came up with a tough offensive rebound after Dirk barely missed a 14-footer, then got the ball back to Dirk to force a Thunder foul and two free throws.

Kidd can’t really be called a star anymore, but he knows how to make winning plays. As much as I love watching Dirk shoot, Kidd’s play may be even more delightful. And in this particular series, he came up big over and over again.

In addition to the big offensive rebound to seal the game tonight, in game 4 Kidd also had the big three-pointer in overtime, plus a steal against Durant with four minutes left and the Mavericks trailing by four. Kidd just grabbed the ball and took it from him, and three seconds later Shawn Marion was scoring at the other end; in overtime, Durant did the same thing to Durant again, stealing the ball from him with a minute left and the game tied. This was actually the *third* time Kidd stripped Durant like that in a key possession in the series––the other one happen with 1:47 left in game 2. Add to that another big offensive rebound with 1:04 left in that game.

I don't know if the Mavericks will beat the Heat in the Finals, but this guy plays like a winner, and he deserves a title. He’s not an all-star anymore, but he plays the right way.

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