Jason matches up against another elite point guard Tuesday night as he and the Mavs face Steve Nash and the Suns.
The Mavs and the Suns have split the season series thus far with each holding serve at their home court. This game takes on added importance, as the Mavs are 4 games ahead of the Suns who are fighting them for the 8th playoff spot. If the Mavs were to win and then play above .500 for the remaining 18 games of the season, the Suns would be forced to post a record of 15-3 to pass them.
Jason will have to be ready to run as the Suns have averaged 119.7 points per game since the All Star Break. Since J.Kidd took command of the offense, the Mavs have scored 100+ points 13 times and won each of those games. No. 2 has also led in assists in those 13 games as well, so if the Suns want to turn this game into a track meet Jason will be happy to oblige as he can run with the best of them.
Jason was acquired last year to be a set-up guy for the Mavs offense, but this year it’s much more likely to see No. 2 with the ball in his hands when it counts the most.
Fans have seen J-Kidd step up and nail a big shot instead of deferring to others plenty of times this season. One just has to look at the recent Spurs-Mavs match up as with the Mavs lead cut down to 2, Jason took it upon himself to nail the shot. J.Kidd might only be averaging 9 points per game this season, but he steps up when the Mavs need him to. When Terry was out injured, Jason upped his points per game to 10, shot over 50% from the field, and 45% from 3-point range.
Teammates completely trust that Jason will make the right decision and nail big shots at the end of the game. Terry talked with Hoopsworld about Jason’s ability to hit clutch hoops:
“He can take and make the big shot. We’ve seen him do it time and time again. At the end, when it’s on the line, we want the ball in his hands because he is going to make the right decision, whether it’s shooting himself or getting it to the guy that’s open. He’s done it throughout his career and it’s nothing different now.”
Nowitzki also gave his vote of confidence to Hoopsworld concerning Jason taking game-winning 3s as for whatever reason, teams continue to leave him all alone behind the 3-point arc.
“I think at the end of the game, he’s going to be the guy that’s open. For some reason, he doesn’t have the reputation of a good shooter, but for us actually, when his feet are set, he’s been a great three-point shooter. When he’s got the time to set his feet, split his legs a little bit, it always seems to look good. When he’s open, I totally trust him, no matter if it’s the first quarter or the fourth quarter.”
The Mavs begin their road trip against Phoenix Tuesday night at 9pm
Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns preview (Dallas Morning News, Mar. 10th, 2009)
The “Other” Jason Kidd (Hoopsworld, Mar. 9th, 2009)
Suns, Mavs square off in the desert (Sports Network, Mar. 10th, 2009)