The beauty of the artist known as Jason Kidd is that the man has never made as much as 45 percent of his field goal attempts in any of his 17 seasons, yet when the Dallas Mavericks need a clutch bucket, they are thrilled to have him take it.
He also is a guy who does a nice impression of a statue when isolated on one of the rocket-quick point guards, yet he has made nine All-Defensive first and second teams.
|Game 3 winner is 11 of 11|
|Eleven times since the NBA Finals went to the 2-3-2 format, teams have entered Game 3 tied 1-1. All 11 times, the Game 3 winner went on to win the title.|
And so the man who continues to age but refuses to show it used the global stage of the NBA Finals to again mock the notion that at 38 years old, he is somehow at a disadvantage against a player younger, quicker, more dynamic and simply better.
It was that way in the second round against the Lakers when, for key stretches, Kidd guarded Kobe Bryant.
It was that way in the Western finals against Oklahoma City when Kidd spent time checking Kevin Durant.
It was that way Thursday night. During the first 41 minutes of Game 2, Dwyane Wade scored 36 points.
But over the final seven minutes, he scored none. No doubt the Heat were partially at fault, not making sure Wade got the ball. Wade had only three shots during that stretch.
But once again, when the Mavericks needed a miracle and had to overcome a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit to win the game and even the series at 1-1, they asked the venerable Kidd to perform a little magic. And he did, spending the final seven minutes of the game guarding Wade and neutralizing him far better than anyone could have expected.
Franchise player Dirk Nowitzki put Kidd's importance in perspective after the game.
"We are obviously led by Jason Kidd, who obviously has seen everything in this league, who has been through everything," Nowitzki said. "He's always calm out there. He's always pushing the guys [to be] in the right positions. He's always making the right plays for us."
It would be tempting to suggest that appearing in the Finals for a third time and perhaps winning his first championship would be a perfect ending for Kidd's career, but that would be premature. He has another year left on his contract and it is reasonable to believe he can, like John Stockton, play three more years until he is 41. He has rejected all talk of retiring any time soon.
Regardless of when his career does end, his place in history and the Hall of Fame is secure. Basketball aficionados and astute casual fans are aware of Kidd's oft-stated accomplishments -- second all-time in assists behind Stockton, third behind Stockton and Michael Jordan in steals, and an amazing third behind superior shooters Ray Allen and Reggie Miller in 3-pointers made despite making 40.1 percent of his shots during his career.
Besides his defensive accomplishments, he has also made the All-NBA first team five times and second team once. And he has played in 1,267 of a possible 1,362 games during his career. His greatness is indisputable.
But if the record book is studied closely, some other amazing achievements can be found. One occurred at some point during the 2009-10 season, when Kidd grabbed a rebound that gave him one more than Oscar Robertson, who had 7,804 over his career. Kidd now has 8,204 rebounds, which is good enough to place him 55th in NBA history.
According to BasketballReference.com, however, each of the 54 players ahead of Kidd played full- or part-time in the front court, which means that no pure guard in NBA history has more total rebounds than Kidd.