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Sunday, March 11, 2012
In another L, Jason Kidd sits; Jason Terry less dire

By Jeff Caplan

Coming off a high-energy, 15-point, six-assist performance in a big win against the New York Knicks on Tuesday, Jason Kidd said he felt great and was ready to take on the Mavericks' lone back-to-back-to-back of the season.

That would not be the case. Coach Rick Carlisle opted to sit his starting point guard Saturday night at Golden State on the final game of not only three in a row, but their fifth in six nights and the ninth in 12 -- and it didn't matter how desperate the Mavs were to get a win.

"It wasn’t a good idea for him to play," Carlisle said.

Kidd missed his 11th game of the season, joining Brendan Haywood (sprained left ankle) and Delonte West (broken finger) in suits, plus Brandan Wright (concussion) was back in Dallas.

The Mavs got down by double-digits in the first quarter, trailed by 19 in the second quarter and after getting as close as seven in the third quarter, fell apart. Despite their third consecutive loss and eighth in 10 games, Carlisle said sitting his floor general against the Warriors was the right move.

"He’s so important to us that it’s tough to play without him, but we’ve got to look at this on a big-picture basis," Carlisle said. "I’m disappointed, but not dismayed. We’ve just got to keep going."

Kidd played 30 minutes in the loss at Phoenix on Thursday and 22 minutes in Friday's lopsided defeat at Sacramento. Sitting out Saturday's game gives him three full days off before Dallas opens a three-game homestand Tuesday against the Washington Wizards, followed by the Charlotte Bobcats and the San Antonio Spurs.

Haywood dressed Saturday night, but did not play, which seems to suggest that he'll be ready to return Tuesday night. Prior to the trip, Carlisle said the hope was that Wright will be able to resume practice Monday, perhaps making him available for Tuesday's game. West is expected to be evaluated Monday with the hope that the stabilizing pins in his right ring finger will be able to be removed soon, paving the way for his eventual return.

That's the good news. But, what about this team's collective psyche?

Jason Terry was emotional and didn't mince words after Friday's loss to the Kings, saying that changes were necessary, that they weren't playing as a team, not handling adversity with the aplomb of last season's team and that, "You can only look at something for so long and you’re getting the same result. So at what point are you going to change or are you going to ride it out?"

Carlisle, as expected, has maintained an even-keel approach and reiterated prior to the Golden State game that he's not worried about the team fraying. At Saturday's conclusion, Terry was far more measured and optimistic.

"We can't let this kill our spirit. It's been a rough go and you've got to go through tough times to get to where you want to go," Terry said. "Hopefully, we'll look back on this stretch of the season and say, 'Man, we got through it, we persevered.' The communication is back. I think after the Phoenix loss, we aired a lot of things out. We're all on the same page now. Hopefully we can go home and right the ship."