Thursday, April 26, 2012
Jason Kidd sitting out Mavs finale
By Jeff Caplan
ATLANTA -- Dallas Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd, the fourth-oldest player in the league this season and the second-oldest set to enter the postseason, will do so with at least seven full days' rest.
The 39-year-old Kidd will not play in Thursday's regular-season finale against the Hawks, coach Rick Carlisle said following the team's morning shootaround.
Carlisle said all other players are expected to be in uniform, although their minutes will be closely scrutinized.
"We have a plan for tonight and we'll execute that plan," Carlisle said.
The Mavs enter Thursday's game as the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference. A loss to the Hawks or a win by the No. 6 seed Denver Nuggets at Minnesota will keep Dallas seventh and pit it against No. 2 seed Oklahoma City, a rematch of last year's Western Conference finals.
A win by the Mavs and a loss by Denver would flip-flop the seedings and send Dallas to Los Angeles to open the playoffs against the Lakers, the team it swept out of the second-round a year ago.
Meanwhile, the Hawks need the win -- or a Boston loss -- to secure home-court advantage in their upcoming first-round series against the Celtics.
Kidd has not played since he logged 22 minutes on April 20 against Golden State. He sat out Saturday's loss at Chicago, and the team had four days off before Thursday's finale. He returned from a groin strain on April 10 and has played in just six games in April.
"I feel great in practice and we've had two great practices the last two days," Kidd said after Wednesday's workout in Dallas. "I feel great physically."
Kidd will finish the season with career lows in points (6.2) and assists (5.5), average minutes (28.7) and games played (48).
He missed four games early in the season with back spasms and six more with a strained calf.
"Hopefully getting this week off for Kidd will really help him," Nowitzki said. "The main thing was that we talked about all season was get in the playoffs and get in the playoffs healthy, and I think for the first time really for a long stretch everybody's available. So, we'll see what we can do in the playoffs."