By Ben Golliver
Kidd buried a tiebreaking three-pointer with less than 30 seconds remaining to provide the winning margin as the Knicks defeated the Nets 100-97 at the Barclays Center on Tuesday night.
After receiving a drive-and-kick pass from Raymond Felton, Kidd stepped in to shoot from the left angle as Brooklyn's Jerry Stackhouse closed out to contest. Stackhouse jumped past Kidd but Kidd's right leg stuck out into his path, causing the contact, and then Kidd fell to the ground. Kidd was awarded a free throw, which he missed, and the Nets missed multiple three-pointers that would have tied the game.
ESPN commentator Jeff Van Gundy immediately protested Kidd's action on the broadcast, noting that the leg kick is a point of emphasis this season. What does that mean? The NBA reportedly instituted the "Reggie Miller Rule" to crack down on shooters trying to draw defensive fouls during the jump-shot motion. If the referees determined that Kidd had caused the contact with his leg kick, he could have earned an offensive foul on the play, negating the basket and awarding the ball to the Nets.
"I thought that should have been an offensive foul," Van Gundy argued. "I think Kidd kicked out his right leg. That was a point of emphasis if he did that."
If the play had been deemed an offensive foul, the Nets would have had the ball with the game tied at 97-97 with 24.1 seconds remaining. Brooklyn could have held for the last shot; if unsuccessful, it could have lived to fight another day in overtime.
This play could also potentially fall under the jurisdiction of the NBA's new anti-flopping policy, which singled out Heat guard Dwyane Wade for using a leg kick and falling to the ground in its official introductory video.
The video’s narrator explained Wade’s infraction: “After releasing the jump shot, the shooter, No. 3 in the white uniform, extends his right leg attempting to draw a defensive foul. While there is marginal contact on the play, the flail and spin to the floor by the offensive player is an over-embellishment and it’s inconsistent with marginal contact.”
Kidd, like Wade, stumbled to the ground after the contact and it could theoretically be determined that he "over-embellished" the contact with Stackhouse, drawing a flopping violation.
Last week, Clippers guard Chauncey Billups was assessed a flopping warning on a similar late-game three-pointer, when he drew three free throws after initiating contact with Mo Williams during his shot's follow-through.
Of course, the Knicks' win isn't going anywhere. The worst-case scenario for Kidd -- who finished with 18 points, six rebounds and six assists -- is that he gets his first anti-flopping warning of the season and his clock starts for potentially earning flopping fines down the road. The Nets, like the Jazz before them, are left to wonder what might have been had the "Reggie Miller Rule" actually been enforced. Miller, meanwhile, tweeted his postgame breakdown: "J Kidd, I love it!!! Leg kick??? Nah bucket!!!!"