Jason Kidd hasn't forgotten taking a seat
Kidd initiated discussion of the topic Wednesday afternoon when asked about New Jersey Nets coach Avery Johnson's return to the American Airlines Center for the first time as an opposing coach.
On Feb. 28, 2008, Kidd was in his fifth game with the Dallas Mavericks since the blockbuster trade went down during the All-Star break. The Mavs and San Antonio Spurs were locked in yet another classic battle.
Tim Duncan made a pair of free throws to give the Spurs a 96-94 lead with 34 seconds to play. Mavs coach Avery Johnson called a 20-second timeout.
What happened next Kidd described as "maybe the biggest thing that stands out," during his brief time playing under Johnson.
During the timeout, Johnson substituted Jerry Stackhouse into the game and sat Kidd.
The Mavs had chances to score in the frenzied final half-minute, but Dirk Nowitzki missed two shots and Jason Terry had a third attempt blocked by Bruce Bowen. Game over. Five games into the trade and a mini-controversy had erupted. The young, controlling head coach had benched one of the game's great players in the type of critical moment the franchise had traded for the savvy, veteran point guard in the first place.
After the 97-94 loss, Kidd downplayed Johnson's decision. And on Wednesday, despite bringing up that situation when asked simply what he remembers most about playing under Johnson, Kidd gave the coach the benefit of the doubt again. But, it was clear, he had not forgotten.
"No," Kidd said. "I just got there so I understand that whole situation. It was a first. There’s always a first. You can always have something to learn from. As much as I wanted to be in at the end of that game, the trade just happened and I can understand coach going with players who understand what he’s looking for."
The loss dropped the Mavs to 3-2 since the trade that sent Devin Harris to New Jersey. Dallas would lose three of its next four and finish the regular season 16-13 with Kidd before getting dumped in the first round in five games by the New Orleans Hornets.
On Thursday, the Mavs will try to extend their winning streak to 11 games against Johnson's Nets. Kidd said if this one is close at the end, he has every intention of seeing it through -- on the court.
"Unless I fouled out," Kidd said. "But, I plan on being in there."
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