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Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Kidd at 38: 'I feel great physically'

By Jeff Caplan

DALLAS -- Jason Kidd turns 38 today and he's just thankful he hasn't had to play that many minutes on most nights.

"Some nights I feel a little bit older than 38," Kidd said. "But, I feel great physically. I do feel good. Coach [Rick Carlisle] has kept my minutes down."

Kidd is averaging 33.4 minutes a game this season, down from 36.0 last year. Doesn't sound like much? Consider that an additional 2.6 minutes a game of bench time adds up to 182 minutes of additional rest through 70 games. Kidd and Jason Terry are the only Mavs to play in every game this season.

A year ago, Kidd was run ragged in the final month-and-a-half. In March, Kidd played in 14 of 15 games and he logged at least 37 minutes 10 times and averaged 36.6 minutes for the month.

On his 37th birthday, he scored 26 points with six 3-pointers in 41 minutes to get a victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

He took one game off last season on March 3, a 112-109 home victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas' opponent on Thursday at the American Airlines Center. Could Kidd get a belated birthday present with another night off against the last-place Wolves?

"Day off, game off, I don’t know if that’s going to happen," Kidd said.

He might not need it. Through 11 games in March, he has averaged 33.2 minutes a game. Twice he's hit 37 minutes, but no higher. Kidd hasn't played more than 37 minutes since going 42 in Phoenix on Feb. 17, the final game before the All-Star break.

Still, Kidd, averaging 8.1 points, 8.4 assists and 4.6 rebounds, and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle have discussed ways to ensure that the 17-year point guard is better rested this season than he was heading into the 2010 postseason.

"We’ve got one of the most unique guys that ever played and he’s got a really good feel for what works for him," Carlisle said. "He did a lot of stuff in practice [Tuesday] and I think he’ll do some stuff [today], but in terms of how much to rest him and how much to have him do in practice, a lot of that is his call, our trainer's call. We try to communicate with Jason, but he’s always ready."

Picking and choosing a game or game to take off in the final 12 games can be tricky, at least at the moment. The Mavs are still battling the Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 2 seed. It's an important position because the two-seed will gain homecourt advantage in a potential semifinal series between the teams.