Friday, February 29th, 2008 at 1:00 pm  |  31 responses

Where Was Kidd at Crunch Time?

by Marcel Mutoni

The big Mavs/Spurs game last night certainly lived up to the hype. The Playoff atmosphere was palpable, with the big-name players deciding the game’s outcome. Well, almost all of the big-name players.

Curiously, Avery Johnson kept Jason Kidd on the bench in the game’s final moments, and today, people are demanding to know why.

In just the fifth game of Kidd’s Dallas rebirth, Johnson stunningly and inexplicably benched Kidd for the Mavs’ final two possessions in crunch time against their biggest rival. Two possessions, spanning nearly 35 seconds.

That’s the same Kidd who Dallas worked so hard to bring back because, in Johnson’s words, this team needed someone after those playoff collapses against Miami and Golden State who “knows how to finish games.”

It was certainly a bizarre decision on Avery’s part, as he stuck with Jason Terry (who had himself a miserable night) and helplessly watched Dirk launch two long (if ill advised) shots with the clock running down.

Be careful, Avery Johnson. With these kinds of decisions, your seat is only going to get warmer and warmer by the day.

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  • Ken

    Stupid Terry.

  • Ken

    Seriously, why bring in one of the greatest playmakers of all time and let him sit the bench the last minutes of a statement game? If it were Kidd’s first game back in Dallas maybe, but I feel like he already showed that he understands the system.

  • RV

    i dnt think they can even use “not knowing the system/play” as an excuse, especially after watching that play unfold, i’m sure Kidd could have stood there and watched dirk take a difficult fadeaway just as well as terry or stack did.

  • http://www.workforstudents.com Adrian Zapata

    Mark Cuban didn’t look to happy.

  • RV

    because Cuban knows how bad it looked to sit down Kidd when the whole point was to bring him in as a leader during those exact situations, Avery probably got sent to the principal’s office this morning

  • ATop

    Is it me or does anyone else see Jason Terry morphing into Larry Hughes a little more each day?

  • Mike

    REPORT: Kidd has just issued an ultimatum to owner Mark Cuban: “Either fire Avery or Trade me NOW!!”

  • RedRum

    that was one of the most stupid plays I have seen a coach call… you have kidd who is great driving to hoop. you have dirk who nails it from the high post. run a pick and roll with kidd and dirk. seriously, I usually don’t criticize coaches, I think even the 3rd assistant coach in a NBA team knows more basketball than the whole Slam magazine staff combined. But that play was seriously dumb…

  • WhaHuh

    ason got no j?

  • Captain America

    Whether Avery made the right decision or not, the spotlight on J-Kidd versus Avery Johnson will be played repeatedly for the foreseeable future. And Avery can’t possibly win this one.

  • peteb80

    Avery is unsmart.

  • G Diesel

    It’s true that Avery made a mistake for benching Kidd. But let’s face it: I didn’t see many game winning baskets from Jason Kidd when he was with the Nets. So, stop acting as if it was Kobe or MJ who was benched.

  • Kene

    …long-time, die-hard Mavs fan checking in. Even I have to admit that was a really dumb move by Avery. His ego musta gotten in the way. Was he trying to prove a point? What point?? I noticed earlier in the quarter that after a made basket, while Avery was going through his routine histrionics and directing the play, Kidd just nonchalantly dribbled the ball past him as Avery was shouting in his ear. Did Avery feel he needed to assert his primacy? Still a dumb move though. Avery needs to chill out. When it comes down to it, Kidd’s a better point guard than Avery ever was.

  • Candice

    Jason is shooting 36% from the 3. I don’t see why he wouldn’t be on the floor in the final seconds especially since the Mavs are considered chokers and soft.

  • TonyG

    it doesn’t even have to do with Kidd SHOOTING the ball..it’s simply creating a play..

  • riggs

    ^seriously. he couldve gotten the ball to either one of his shooters more efficiently

  • G Diesel

    When Mr Kidd was still with the Nets, he didn’t create many game winning plays. Vince Carter was jacking fadeway bricks from downtown Secaucus at the end of each game.

  • Bruno – Brasil

    seriously, who in the world would trust “little dick” to take your final shots with the game on the line?!?!?!?!
    come on… i know it wasn’t playoffs, but it wasn’t atlanta or memphis either… off course the pink german would choke…

  • Bruno – Brasil

    G Diesel has a point too

  • Sarah

    What’s funny to me is that Avery tried to cover his mistake by saying “Dirk got his jersey pulled a few times.. *awkward laugh to play off the whining.*” Seriously, Avery? Dirk went to the line 21 times. 21 times!! (And we all know it wasn’t because he was attacking the rim aggressively.. just that same old fadeaway, fall down move we’ve seen more times than I can count. I can’t believe no one mentions that considering all the hate Manu gets for flopping.. at least he actually gets hammered a good percentage of the time). And you’re asking for a couple more gimmes? No. I’m sorry but that boy is gonna have to learn to win it on his own sometime. Take a lesson from Pop and don’t blame your and/or your team’s failure on the refs because they take their cues from you. No wonder Dirk expects to be handed every game and Terry goes all Norman-Bates-in-a-wig if somebody looks at him wrong. Both teams played a physical game and you got a good deal of calls so shut your mouth, move on, and prepare better next time. Sh*t like that is the same reason some people booed you at your own jersey retirement ceremony. And no, I wasn’t one of them, but damn. Some of us still try to respect you here in SA — stop trying to f*ck it up. Take your losses like a man, come back next time and try to give it back to us. That’s the game..

    Okay sorry. I realize that turned into my own little letter to AJ. I may have gotten a little carried away.. I feel better now.

  • whooo!

    if this was the spurs or lakers who did this, i would assume that pop or phil were hiding kidd till for important plays in the playoffs. but i feel like a.j. really doesn’t trust kidd to run things as he likes “his” own system for the last shot. with the amount cuban’s invested in these players, a.j. would be the first to go if they have another complete failure this year.

  • Bruno – Brasil

    you know what i think now?
    i’m watching the game again and well, i think avery was trying to motivate dirk
    ok, i don’t like the pink german, BUT he is the main guy in Allas, he is the shooter and scorer on that team and well, everybody knows what avery said. “We will bring Kidd cause this team needs a leaders”… he called his own go-to player the choker everybody is sayin!!!
    he really is, but it doesn’t matter, you can’t take the balls of your player and throw that out!!!

    for me, he was tryin to show Pink he is still his man… well, “little dick” got Parker on the rotation and missed the layup… give up on him AJ, play dirk only in the first 3 qtr…

  • Bryant Reeves

    Beating his wife?

  • RedRum

    ok, lets cut the crap. Avery stuffed it. it was a mistake. he knows it, we know it, he will not do it again. He run a pick n roll with terry and Dirk. We all saw what terry did. It should have been kidd on the play. Check the play again. Dirk is wide open after the pick. terry just does not find him, drives and gets blocked. kidd would have passed and Dirk would had a wide open 3. no discussion.

  • Bruno – Brasil

    1st, he didn’t run that pick and roll, his play was before, that was a rebound broken play
    THEY ran the pick and roll, dirk WASN’T open after that, josh howard was and stackhouse was a good option too
    what would kidd do? probably pass the ball to one of these not-closer players cause everybody knows that the problem kidd has in the game is his shot
    they would have a chance? yes, sure, but not better than the one terry had
    of course, now that we saw him get blocked is easy to say the pass was a better option, but think about it, terry on a floater in the paint
    not bad, and the block? 80 something % of the times he would be fouled… bad luck for him was bowen there
    and bottom line, if it was kidd and if dirk was open… what would have happen?
    the game was on the line, he would miss the rim, like he missed a layup guarded by parker before in that play

    by the way, OF COURSE WAS A MISTAKE and he’ll not do it again

  • tealish

    Maybe Avery was trying to save Kidd the embarrassment of a situation where the defense backs off begging him to shoot a jumper?

  • RV

    tealish, its gonna happen sooner or later, he needs to be put in those situations now and not wait to experiment in the playoffs.

  • http://www.nba.com/games/20080214/DALPHX/recap.html hursty

    terry played awful, truly horrible.

  • http://robpaxon.com Rob Paxon

    Everyone’s burning Avery over this misstep and I’m sure even he recognizes it was the wrong decision. But I can understand why he did it: he figured Dirk would serve as the play’s focal point and he wanted as many shooters around him as possible. He’s more intimately familiar with Terry’s crunch-time scoring ability than Kidd’s, and certainly Terry is a better shooter than Kidd. Still, he needs to overlook what he’s most familiar with and let the Hall of Famer you just traded half your roster for run your team in crunch time. That’s when a historically fantastic pure point guard is most valuable; when you put the ball in the hands of one of your best scorers at the end of the game, he tends to either make it or not. When you put the ball in the hands of one of the best pure points in the league (certainly he is still that), he creates opportunities all over the court and gets the ball into the best situation available. And that may even yet be in the hands of your best scorer. But the ball should start out in the hands of the guy who is being (innit he? he certainly should be) trusted to run your team.

  • malak33zy

    they need yo fire avery first they lose in the finals then to the golden state in the play-offs now he benches kidd i bet isaiah thomas could do better

  • Harlem_World

    Avery Johnson is no Phil Jackson or Pop. I don’t think he’s near D’Antoni either. Matter of fact, I think Lawrence Frank is a better head coach than him.