Just four days after a dropping a heartbreaker in OKC, Jason Kidd and the Mavs escalated one of the Western Conference’s biggest brewing rivalries by taking one back from the Thunder on Monday.
Jason tallied nine assists on Monday as the Mavs rose up to beat the OKC Thunder in a West Finals rematch (Getty Images).
J-Kidd helped the Mavs spread the wealth around in the victory as he dished out a season-high nine assists in the 100-87 win at home over the formerly-undefeated Thunder. After the game, No. 2 credited his team’s ability and experience as two factors that gave the Mavs the edge in a closely contested game:
"For us, our experience, that’s all we can really fall back on. When you look at the age it’s different. We’re a little bit older than [the Thunder], but I think just the experience of seeing just about everything. It goes back to the game we had up there; we were down, but we found a way to take the lead. Right now, that’s probably the slight advantage that we do have."
The Mavs and the Thunder traded barbs early in Monday’s rematch, taking a tie score of 20-20 into the second quarter. But a strong finish to the half by the Mavs gave them a 54-47 lead at the break, one they would not relinquish on the way to victory.
Jason tallied four of his nine assists in that second quarter, including two to Brendan Haywood and one each to Shawn Marion and Jason Terry. At halftime, No. 2 has seven assists and three rebounds. He added two assists and a rebound in the third and pulled down one final board in the fourth to help Dallas secure the big victory.
"We had a chance to redeem ourselves, and we got a big win," he told Mavs Moneyball.
The game was a fourth in five nights for the Mavs, a stretch they came out of no worse for wear at 2-2. Jason logged at least 30 minutes in each of the four games and more than 34 minutes in three of them. After the win over OKC, J-Kidd emphasized the mental toughness required to dig deep and finish out the tough stretch of back-to-back games:
"It’s big. I mean, this is something we’re going to look at the tape tomorrow and build on," he said. "This is four [games] in five nights and most of the time with this shortened season these games are the throwaway games, you have every excuse to say, ‘Hey, we’re tired,’ but mentally and physically we were here tonight, and that’s what we have to do from here on out."
UP AND DOWN
Monday’s win was the second of the season for the Mavericks after a tough 0-3 start.
They picked up their first win on Friday against Toronto, when J-Kidd scored nine points on three triples and added six assists and seven rebounds to the 99-86 Dallas victory.
Two nights later the Mavs were in Minnesota looking to make it two straight against the Timberwolves. But after the two teams played an even first, a strong second quarter from the home team put Dallas behind and they were unable to come back to the win.
The Mavs actually drew within a single point with 2:27 to go in the third, but Jason said they ran out of time and everything changed at the start of the fourth.
"If there was more time [in the third] we had the momentum in our favor," he said. "But we came out to start the fourth and we were down 10-12 points right off the bat. We got a lot of new pieces and we’re trying to do this on the run. And so, we’re going to make mistakes and we just need to try and get better."
Jason finished with three points, four rebounds and five assists. His only points came from three-point land, where he has now made 11-of-28 shots this season. No. 2’s 39 percent mark from deep is strong, but the rest of the team is shooting just 28.8 percent from beyond the arc.
"We’re getting wide opens," he said. "The ball just isn’t going in. It happens. You’ve just got to keep taking the shots that present themselves and hopefully, sooner than later, that they start dropping."
But just six games into a long season, Jason says there is absolutely no reason to panic.
"There is no concern," he said. "We’re all professional, all trying to do our job. All we can ask is for everyone to give 110 percent."
ONE-ON-AIR FORCE ONE
J-Kidd and the Mavs will be in Texas for their next three games, but before they begin a road trip to Detroit and Boston early next week, they’ll be stopping off in Washington D.C. to be recognized by the President of the United States.
Visiting the White House is a rite of passage for championship teams, but the Mavs had to work a little harder to book their trip, since the lockout shortened schedule left them without a game in D.C. against the Wizards.
Yet owner Mark Cuban knew Dallas had to get there, so with a little creative booking, a meeting date was arranged for Monday. J-Kidd told Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he’s excited for the visit:
"It’s going to be a great honor to meet the Chief, so we look forward to it. We might have a little time to play a little one-on-one," Jason said. "We know he’s going to get the benefit of the calls and he has homecourt advantage, so we’ll just try to keep it close."
Jason and the Mavericks will look to move closer to the .500 mark on Wednesday night when they take on the Phoenix Suns at home in the American Airlines Center. Tipoff is 7:30 PM CST and the game can be seen on FS Southwest.
- Mavericks falling short without last year’s mix (Fox Sports North, Jan. 1, 2012)
- Mavs again flash superiority over young OKC (ESPN Dallas / Fort Worth, Jan. 2, 2012)
- Mavs @ Wolves Post Game 5 Quotes "Answer Back, pls" (Mavs Moneyball, January 2, 2012)
- Thunder @ Mavs Post Game 6 Quotes "Progress (Mavs Moneyball, January 3, 2012)
- Mavs want to play one-on-one with President Obama (Star-Telegram, January 3, 2012)