Thursday, April 14, 2011
Jason Kidd's 3-ball critical to moving on
By Jeff Caplan
DALLAS -- Jason Kidd describes any point production he might amass on any given night as a bonus for his team. Perhaps he should look at it as being far more critical.
Kidd drained 4-of-6 shots from 3-point range, including a pair in the fourth quarter as the Mavs were burying the New Orleans Hornets. There's little doubt the team receives a detectable boost when Kidd is firing in his shots. He finished with 12 points and it improved the Mavs to 24-6 when Kidd scores at least 10 points in a game.
That means they were 31-19 when he scores in single figures, not a shabby record at all, but not nearly as convincing as when he's pumping in long-range jump shots. In fact, it could be considered crucial.
"It adds another shooter and it spreads the floor, gives Dirk Nowitzki opportunities to do what he does best," said Kidd of the ripple effects when he's hitting his shot. "And then, I'm not the guy who's going to score a lot of points, so it definitely is a bonus when I do score."
On a team that doesn't always know where it's second-leading scorer will come from on any given night behind Nowitzki, Kidd's ability to score between10 and 12 points a game significantly decreases the scoring burden on the streaky shooting guard Jason Terry as well as small forward Shawn Marion, who has considerably lifted his scoring average since becoming a full-time starter last month.
Veteran Los Angeles Lakers point guard Derek Fisher is the only other point among the Western Conference playoff teams who doesn't supply his team with at least 10 points a game, but he's flanked by Kobe Bryant.
Kidd entered Wednesday's game having gone 1-of-20 from beyond the arc in four games this month. He was 0-of-10 before taking two games off last week to rest. He made just 23-of-88 in March. Wednesday's game marked just his second in his past 19 games that he made more than 2 from downtown.
"I had some great looks in Houston [on Monday], just in and out," Kidd said. "We've been working all week on shooting the ball and taking the ball to the basket. When you have fresh legs and you feel strong, it definitely helps."
After the Rockets game, Kidd said he felt his 3-ball was getting closer. He was right. The big money question now is can Kidd dial up his shot to about 40 percent, his percentage the past two seasons, or will he remain at this season's 34 percent?
For better or worse, Kidd's 3-ball will go a long way in determining if the Mavs can survive and advance