Kidd remains one of NBA's best

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Kidd remains one of NBA's best

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Two of the NBA's greatest 3-point shooters were on hand during Boston's game against the Dallas Mavericks.

That's not a surprise.

The fact that one of those shooters is Jason Kidd?

Big surprise.

"That would probably be a good trivia question," Kidd told CSNNE.com. "Who were the top three, 3-point shooters? My name would probably never be mentioned. But I've worked hard at it, and I'm very proud to have made some."

He certainly did on Friday night, one of which would prove to be the game-winner for the Mavericks as they closed out the game with a 10-0 run to defeat the C's, 101-97.

Kidd finished with 10 points and nine assists, which included a 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds to play that was the game-winner.

On the game-winning shot, Kidd had the ball and hesitated enough to get Allen flying in his direction.

As Allen landed, Kidd raised up for the game-winner and hit nothing but net.

"I was actually afraid that when I jumped, he was going to jump into me, and I was going to foul him," Allen said. "I was trying to run him off the (3-point line), but he just stayed there. That was a tough shot."

Tough shots have been a part of Kidd's Hall of Fame-worthy resume for years, which is surprising when you consider shooting the ball was clearly his greatest weakness when he came into the NBA.

"I have a lot of opportunities because I'm open," said Kidd, who has made 1,742 3s which ranks third all-time behind Reggie Miller and Allen. "You just have to work at it. I've been fortunate to make a couple (3s). But I've taken a lot, too."

But none bigger on Friday night than the one with the game clock winding down, the kind of shot that shows the progress and improvement in Kidd's shot through the years.

Allen said Kidd's shooting skills are often overlooked because he has been such a dominant playmaker for the bulk of his career.

"He didn't really have to shoot, but that's what kept him around for so long as he's been around is being able to facilitate, being a great teammate, and knocking down the open shot, keep the floor spaced," Allen said. "It's just a message to all the young guys to just continue to hone your skills, and I think he's done that."

As far as Kidd being overlooked for his shooting prowess, Kevin Garnett doesn't buy that.

"If you look at his track record, he has hit big shots, he's put teams on his back, he's carried the load and responsibility for a long time," Garnett said. "He's no shag of a player, nothing like that. He's a respected player. Everybody in our organization and our locker room respects this dude."

After shooting a paltry 27.2 percent on 3s as a rookie in 1994-1995, Kidd shot 42.5 percent last season.

A career 34.8 percent shooter, Kidd has shot better than 40 percent on 3s in each of the last three seasons.

"Paul (Pierce) and I understand, we know he has been around a long time," Garnett said. "You don't just be around or in the league just because. He has hit big shots for tme from time to time. Tonight was no different."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Celtics miss an opportunity in first half with LeBron in foul trouble

Celtics miss an opportunity in first half with LeBron in foul trouble

CLEVELAND – There are 240 minutes of play in an NBA game, but Boston’s 112-99 Game 4 loss to Cleveland came down to seven (six minutes and 46 seconds to be precise).

That would be the amount of time left in the second quarter that LeBron James spent on the bench with four personal fouls (a first for him in the first half of an NBA playoff game ever) and Boston ahead by 10 points.

Boston could not have asked for a better scenario than that, especially considering how well they had played up to that point in the game and again, knowing that James wasn’t about to set foot back on the court until the third quarter.

But here’s the problem.

Boston’s 10-point lead when James left with four fouls.

Halftime rolled around and Boston’s lead was still at just 10 points.

Celtics players agreed that not finding a way to increase their lead with James out was among the more pivotal stretches of play in Game 4.

“They did a really good job of not letting it (the 10-point lead) get out of control while he was on the bench,” Boston’s Marcus Smart told CSNNE.com. “Every time we scored, they came back and scored.  They answered back with everything we answered.”

While many will point to that stretch as a time when the Celtics failed to make the necessary adjustments to increase their chances of winning, it wasn’t as if the Cavs are a one-man team.

“They still have two All-Stars out on the court,” said Boston’s head coach Brad Stevens, referring to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. “With the best player in the world they go to unreal, but they’re still a pretty darned good team when those guys are out there.”

Irving had a playoff career-high 42 points which included him scoring 12 of Cleveland’s 14 points in the final 6:46 of the second with James on the bench.

“He’s one of the best point guards in the NBA, and you know, you can tell he puts in a lot of work in his game, a lot of respect from myself, my teammates,” said Avery Bradley. “We have to do a better job at defending him as a unit, trying to make everything hard on him. He definitely got a great rhythm going tonight, and I felt like we had a chance to make it harder on him.”

James still finished with a strong stat line for the night – 34 points, six assists, five rebounds and a blocked shot.

As good as he was on the court, the Celtics have to be kicking themselves for not doing more with the time James on the bench in the second quarter which in hindsight, was among the bigger factors in them now returning home facing elimination as opposed to being tied at two games apiece in this series.

“What are you going to do?” said Cleveland’s Kevin Love. “You have to continue to fight through it. At halftime, we were down 10. We made some adjustments on the defensive end and we just fought; we needed to. They got everything out of us tonight in that second half, but we played more inspired basketball as well.”

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics don't take advantage of LeBron's foul trouble

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics don't take advantage of LeBron's foul trouble

CLEVELAND – Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Tuesday night’s Game 4 matchup between Boston and Cleveland which ended with the Cavs rallying for a 112-99 win. Boston now trails Cleveland 3-1 in the best-of-seven series.

 

STARS

Kyrie Irving

He was simply the best player on the floor by a mile in Game 4 as he tallied a career playoff-high 42 points with 21 coming in the pivotal third quarter.

LeBron James

Despite picking up four personal fouls in the first half – a first for him in a playoff game ever – James bounced back with a dominant performance. He finished with 34 points, 15 of which came in the decisive fourth quarter. He also had six assists and five rebounds.

 

STUDS

Jae Crowder

He continues to be one of the more consistent Celtics in this series. In Game 4, he had 18 points on 6-for-12 shooting with eight rebounds and four assists.

Kevin Love

Most of Game 4, Kevin Love found ways to make life difficult for the Celtics. He ended up with a double-double of 17 points and 17 rebounds with five assists and two blocked shots.

Avery Bradley

Boston’s Game 3 hero couldn’t deliver like that in Game 4, but Bradley still managed to score a team-high 19 points to go with five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

 

DUDS

Boston’s sense of urgency

They had the Cavs in prime position to be beaten. But they didn’t play with the kind of effort and focus in the second half, that we saw through most of the first. And that 6:46 stretch in the second quarter when LeBron James was on the bench, and they didn’t increase their lead? That was a major, major factor in the game’s outcome.