Friday, February 29, 2008

Johnson explains Kidd move

Avery Johnson’s decision to sub Jason Kidd out at the end of last night’s loss at San Antonio dominated the talkshow circuit, TV and radio, and cyberspace today. The Mavericks coach held firm that his decision to sit Kidd with 34.5 seconds left was based on getting the best shot at the time and not a shot at Kidd.

“Had we not been able to get the ball where we needed it to go, I would have been really concerned,” Johnson said before tonight’s visit from Sacramento. “Jason is going to be in the game 90 percent of the time or more in that situation.”

Anything less than 100 percent isn’t likely to satisfy some precincts. Johnson added that all the wrinkles haven’t been ironed out with Kidd just yet. Several mistakes, unseen by the untrained eye, are being made on the offense end during the game with Kidd and Johnson didn’t want to take a chance on the last possession.

Those mistakes are going to be made as the adjustment period continues. Everyone isn’t going to be on the same page after just five games, Johnson said. Having an offensive group he’s familiar with – Dirk Nowitzki, Josh Howard, Jason Terry, Jerry Stackhouse and Erick Dampier – won out. Kidd also wasn’t aggressive offensively enough last night (eight shots) to suit Johnson.

“I wanted him to shoot 16 times, instead of eight,” Johnson said.

Johnson understands the shock today, but not the “negative journalism” that followed.

“The disappointing part is when you have negative journalism that talks about how we’re not working that well together or we overreacted to a situation,” he said.

He later added he doesn’t appreciate, “taking it further like I really don’t like [Kidd] or we’re not getting along, I don’t have confidence in him, assuming those things.”

Mark Cuban didn’t have a problem with Johnson’s decision.

“Didn’t even notice, to be honest with you,” Cuban said of Kidd’s absence for the final possession. “All I saw was Dirk wide open and Tony Parker grabbing his jersey.”

Cuban admitted that if the same strategy had been employed down the line, the uproar would have been more justified.

“If this was 28 games from now, then you’d have an argument,” Cuban said, “but it’s five games.”

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