Friday, April 18, 2008

What's the point? Kidd vs. Paul

NEW ORLEANS – Firsts form lessons. Jason Kidd’s first playoff experience had plenty quarterbacking the eighth-seeded Phoenix Suns against fellow Bay Area legend and close friend Gary Payton.

“I was just happy to be there,” Kidd said.

The Suns shocked No. 1 seed Seattle in the opening game 11 years ago. Kidd fared well in his maiden postseason voyage and Phoenix took the best-of-5 the distance before bowing out.

Kidd is the wily veteran now with 14 seasons and 100 playoff games under his belt. He’s widely considered the gold standard for today’s point guards. Perhaps the best of the new crop is New Orleans’ Chris Paul.

“Paul controls the ball so much that he’s the one that has all the poise and makes the plays, and he’s really the head of that team,” Jerry Stackhouse said. “The other guys just do what they do.”

Both the Hornets and Paul enter uncharted waters, as Kidd did more than a decade ago. These are the first playoffs for the MVP contender and the first for the franchise in four years. So it’s natural that most, if not all, eyes will focus first on the two All-NBA point guards.

“At the end of the day it’s two teams playing to figure out who can get to four first,” Kidd said in an attempt to downplay the matchup.

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