Jason Kidd basically won a playoff game for the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday. The
ageless aging point guard hit 6-10 on three-pointers and 9-14 overall for an almost stunning 24 points in a Game 1 win over the Portland Trail Blazers in Dallas. How unlikely was that performance? Kidd scored 48 points in last year's playoffs ... in six games. He hit six threes on Saturday, and nine in a six-game series last year. He hit nine field goals on Saturday, and 14 in a six-game series last year. You get the picture.
Forgive the Blazers for assuming that pond will dry up in Game 2. But the more pressing concern is whether Portland's own guards can get the net moving. The Blazers hit just 2-16 three-pointers, with the starting lineup shut out completely and top reserve Nicolas Batum shooting 1-7.
Gerald Wallace isn't exactly a perimeter player, swapping between small and power forward, depending on whether Marcus Camby is on the court. But he had a rough go on Saturday, hitting just 4-13 shots and having his shot blocked four times. The heavy lifting for the Portland offense rested on -- who else? -- LaMarcus Aldridge, who dropped 27 on the Mavericks. Andre Miller also chipped in 18 -- yes, that's right, Kidd and Miller were assigned to guard one another -- but the starter-reserve tandem of Wes Matthews and Brandon Roy combined four just four points.
Dirk Nowitzki had himself a night with 28 points, 13 of those coming from the line as Portland resorted to fouling when the German took the ball off the bounce, especially in the fourth quarter. Hopefully Portland has a better defensive plan of attack this time; Dallas is a solid defense that will make everyone (but Aldridge and whoever Kidd is guarding, apparently) work.