<
>

A clean sweep would sure help Kidd's legs

5/6/2011

DALLAS -- Here's Shawn Marion's description of what Jason Kidd means to the team:

"What does he mean? The snake, that’s the head of the snake. Do I need to say more? He’s our floor general out there. He’s making everything happen on the floor and man, doing a great job doing it."

OK, so it sounds like Kidd is pretty important to the overall process for the Mavericks to find success. And everyone knows that a snake needs legs, er, something like that.

Kidd definitely needs his legs and the upcoming playoff schedule will challenge the 38-year-old, who continues to say that he is as healthy and as rested as he's been in his four postseasons with Dallas. Tonight's Game 3 at the American Airlines Center will be the third game in five nights and Game 4 follows quickly at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle has done a good job limiting Kidd's minutes. He's averaging 34.4 minutes a game, a very manageable number. Kidd exerted extra energy in Game 2 with a substantial amount of defensive time focused on Kobe Bryant, who also spent more time guarding Kidd.

"It’s a little bit too much," Kidd said, laughing, about going toe-to-toe with Bryant. "I know why he’s guarding me -- to rest. But, you know, he’s a competitor and I’m trying to help my team; whatever I can do to make it tough on him."

Kidd's Kobe responsibility could be lessened in tonight's game because of the one-game suspension issued to Ron Artest for his face-rake of J.J. Barea. It could allow the 6-foot-7 Shawn Marion to handle more of Kobe.

Even if Carlisle opts to keep Kidd chasing Kobe more, as long as the Barea can continue to provide solid minutes as the backup, Carlisle can likely keep Kidd's minutes between 34 and 36 minutes.

And with a potential Game 5 coming up on Tuesday in L.A., which would make five games in nine nights, not an easy task.

In a similar turnaround in the first round against the Trail Blazers with Game 4 being an afternoon game after one day's rest -- and Games 3 and 4 were in Portland -- Kidd combined for 17 points on 6-of-15 shooting (5-of-13 from 3-point range) and seven assists.

Kidd continues to say he feels fine. He'll feel even better if he doesn't have to make a return trip to La-La Land.