Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Kidd practices on birthday, but will he play?
By Jeff Caplan
DALLAS -- Jason Kidd probably could have gotten away with playing hooky on his birthday, but the 38-year-old point guard was present and accounted for at Wednesday's practice, although he did skip a session with the media afterward.
"There's a cake up there, that's what I saw," said Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki, who will turn 33 this summer. "He's amazing to me. He practices every day, he never misses games, he plays hard at both ends, he's our motor on both ends of the floor. He's amazing."
Kidd has played in all 70 games this season. He played in 80 of 82 last season, with one missed game coming as a day of much-needed rest in early March against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Thursday's opponent at the American Airlines Center. There's has been talk of giving Kidd a break again, but figuring out when to do it can be tricky.
The Mavs expect to have both Peja Stojakovic and Shawn Marion in the rotation together for the first time since March 7 at Minnesota. Dallas hasn't had its full complement of players since Tyson Chandler sprained an ankle in Philadelphia on March 1.
Does coach Rick Carlisle want to sit Kidd when his rotation finally has a chance to stabilize for the first time this month? Even without Kidd, the Mavs, locked in a struggle with the Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 2 seed, figure to win at home against the Timberwolves, who will be without injured double-double machine Kevin Love. But, finally running out a full team might be more important prior to a long and critical road trip that starts Saturday.
Carlisle said nothing is scheduled at this point as far as Kidd sitting out Thursday night.
"We'll talk about that internally as time goes on," Carlisle said. "The spacing on the road trip is a little unusual. We have a two-day break between two sets of the games so all of those things factor into those kinds of considerations, and we'll play it by ear."
The upcoming six-game, 10-day trip is a strange one with three sets of back-to-backs, including a Clippers-Lakers set on March 30 and 31.
Since the Mavs are coming off a three-day break between games and Kidd played only 25 minutes in Sunday's game, perhaps taking Thursday night off isn't all that necessary. The Mavs finish the road trip at Golden State on April 2 and then at Portland April 3. Perhaps Kidd might be better served taking the Golden State game off and being fresh against the Trail Blazers, a potential first-round playoff opponent.