Monday, March 10, 2008

Josh and Kidd need to bond

Dirk Nowitzki is thriving with Jason Kidd. The Kidd connection looks pretty strong with Erick Dampier, too, and lately with Jerry Stackhouse. Overall, the Mavericks seem to be catching on to their new quarterback.

Josh Howard, though, is the notable exception. The team’s second-leading leading scorer is in somewhat of a funk since Kidd hit town.

“If I could really say I don’t want to talk about this I would,” Howard said Monday night prior to facing New York. “It’s just about us playing together. We’ve been playing together, but we really haven’t been playing together that long, so it’s hard to say.”

Howard was averaging 20.3 points before Kidd debuted on Feb. 20. In the first 10 games with Kidd, leading up to the Knicks, Howard’s averaged 15.7 points and shot 38.4 percent.

There are, of course, other reasons for his struggles, both physical and emotional. Howard was dealing with a sore lower back around the time of the trade. He also dealt with a couple of deaths in the family.

“I don’t want to overanalyze it,” Avery Johnson said Howard and Kidd not connecting. “It hadn’t happened the way we wanted it to, but it will. We’ve seen some stuff on film that we think can help.

“Everybody in the world should be happy to play with Kidd. He wants to get you the ball. The more that Josh runs with vision, and keeps his eyes on Kidd at all times, I think it will happen because Kidd’s skill set is tailor made, in my opinion, for an athlete like Josh.”

Howard hopes the bond is growing with Kidd. He realizes it has to if the Mavs are going to maximize their scoring potential.

“Kidd’s the head of the snake running the offense,” Howard said. “We’ve got our MVP scoring points and that’s a good thing. We’ve got people around us, with Stack being able to come through for us.

“Guys are willing to come in and sacrifice, that’s what we need. It’s kind of like the same situation two or three years ago. We had guys that knew their roles. I think everybody is figuring out their roles.”

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