DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks world giggled and celebrated recently when coach Jason Kidd framed a supposed difference between his style and that of predecessor Rick Carlisle.
"I trust my guys,'' coach Jason Kidd said last week before a Game 7, Round 2 win at Phoenix. ""There’s nothing to get tight about. ... The previous coach would take timeouts right away on a 2-0 run or a 4-0 run. I want my guys to work through it ...''
Kidd didn’t mean this as a shot at a mentor, colleague and friend; it was simply a statement of fact.
But that doesn’t make Kidd’s “style” superior to Carlisle’s, as evidenced in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors on Friday.
Tucked into the collapse that was this 126-117 loss were three Kidd-related issues.
Luka and Kidd
Luka and Curry
One, the Mavs were once again heavily reliant on the 3-ball. That was a lot of fun when they shot 56 percent in the first half and gained a 19-point lead.
It wasn't so fun when in the third quarter Dallas scored just 13 points. And Kidd afterward said his guys shot too many treys.
"We died in the third quarter,'' he said, "by shooting that many 3's.
But ... isn't it the coach's job to rein in something he doesn't like?
Two, the defensive end was a major problem for Dallas as the Warriors stormed back to take a commanding 2-0 series lead - and Kidd explained the issue.
“Offense,” Kidd said. “We play defense when we play offense, and we play no defense when we can’t score.''
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That's a harsh indictment, and psychologically fixable. But again, if this team has that personality flaw ... isn't it the coach's job to fix something he doesn't like?
And three, maybe one of the reasons the Mavericks couldn't slow down the Warriors during that 13-point third quarter is because Kidd didn't bother using the tool of the timeout.
While the Mavs were 2-for-13 shooting from the arc in that period, the Warriors were on their way to outscoring Dallas while also out-rebounded the Mavericks, 43-30, and scoring 62 points in the paint to Dallas’ 30.
Maybe a timeout would've allowed Kidd to inform his team about shot selection.
Maybe a timeout would've allowed Kidd to inform his team about its defensive mentality.
Maybe a timeout would've allowed the Mavs to gather themselves.
Kidd, instead, let his "guys to work through it.''
It's a concept that was applauded last series. Because it worked. It's a concept that should be questioned now after a Game 2 collapse.
To the credit of Luka Doncic, he isn't bothering with finger-pointing.
"He is the coach, he’s the boss,'' said Doncic, who scored 42 points in the loss. "So whatever he says is good. Sometimes he’s going to take a timeout, sometimes not. ... He’s the boss. We listen to him.”