With No. 2 back on the court Sunday, Dallas tried to hit the ground running against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the Mavericks were unable to sustain a quick start and lost, 102-74.
The Mavs jumped out to a 15-point lead, spurring largely to impressive first half defense by Jason on LeBron.
At the break, No. 2 had nine points, three assists and three boards, which helped to give the Mavs a 49-47 advantage. As Jason told the Dallas Morning News before the game, he knew exactly how tough it was going to be to beat the Cavs on Sunday on their home court.
“They’re the best team in the league right now. They probably have the MVP in LeBron. They’re playing well at home [34-1]. Hopefully, they think the game’s at 7 and not at 1 [Eastern time].”
Unfortunately, the Mavs ran out of steam as they had their worst second half of the season. S
coring only 11 points in the third and only 25 points in the second half, the Mavs shot 11-of-38. With the Mavs unable to score, Lebron and co took over the game. With 55 points in the second half, the Cavs turned what was once a close game controlled by the Mavs into a rout.
Jason, who finished with 9 points, 7 boards, 8 assists, and 1 steal, talked with the Star-Telegram about the Mavs inability to have anything go down for them in the second half.
“We didn’t put the ball in the basket, nor did we stop them in that third quarter, and that was pretty much the game. We shot a lot of jumpers. You live or die with the jump shot, and we died.”
Jason volunteered to defend LeBron, which impressed teammates and fans -- particularly when he held Cleveland's MVP candidate to nine points on 3-of-11 shooting in the first half.
Jason talked with the Star-Telegram about the decision to start him on Lebron:
“I was fresh. I wasn’t going to guard him the whole night. We just wanted to give him a different look. It worked a little in the first half. But as well as we played, we were only up two. And then we gave him jump shots and he knocked them down.”
It was an message to Jason's Dallas teammates: he's ready to face any test thrown his way, including the possibility of guarding Kobe Bryant in the playoffs. Dirk Nowitzki talked with the media about what it meant to the team to see Jason battle against Lebron:
“It’s great. Jason knows how some of the scorers work. He played with Kobe [in the Olympics] and he actually played some defense on him the last couple times we played the Lakers. J-Kidd is never afraid of a challenge. That’s the way he’s always been.”
GIVEN A DAY OFF
After a bad fall against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night, Jason was given a game off on Friday to rest his sore back. The layoff resulted in the end of his streak of 100 straight games played, and Dallas dropped their contest against the Denver Nuggets, 103-101.
The Mavs had been 16-3 in games decided by 5 points or less with J-Kidd on the court, but without him, they were unable to muster much offense as they shot only 35.6% from the floor. Dallas also was held to a mere 14 assists.
Coach Carlisle talked with the Star-Telegram about how the Mavs acutely felt the loss of Jason:
”It’s pretty obvious what Jason Kidd means to our team. We don’t give up 56 percent [shooting] if he’s on the floor. It’s as simple as that. Kidd has such a great impact on our team, it’s just unreal.”
As Jason explained, being healthy for the playoffs is the most important thing. As he told the Dallas Morning News about missing Friday’s game against the Denver Nuggets.
“Look around the West, teams are trying to get healthy. Some guys aren’t playing.”
“Then look at a team like Boston, and you hear their coach say [they’d] rather be healthy than have home-court advantage.”
“We’re coming into an important part of the schedule. I think being able to get a little rest always helps. I’ve played a lot of minutes. My back was sore. It was nothing serious, so I thought Coach giving me some time to rest can only help.”
The Mavs play Tuesday night against the Timberwolves at 7 pm CST.
Mavericks 74, Cavaliers 102 (ESPN.com, Mar. 29th, 2009)
Nuggets 103, Mavericks 101 (ESPN.com, Mar. 27th, 2009)
Sore rest for the weary might benefit Dallas Mavericks (Dallas Morning News, Mar. 28th, 2009)
Mavs’ second half a downer (Star-Telegram, Mar. 29th, 2009)
Jason Kidd shows leadership by guarding Lebron James (Star-Telegram, Mar. 29th, 2009)
Carmelo Anthony sinks Kidd-less Dallas Mavericks (Star-Telegram, Mar. 28th, 2009)
Denver 103, Mavs 101: Your All-Access Pass (Dallasbasketball.com, Mar. 28th, 2009)