DALLAS – If he had it to do all over again, Mark Cuban would still swap Devin Harris for Jason Kidd.
Kidd’s performance against Harris on Wednesday night showed why.
A month shy of his 36th birthday, but refreshed from an All-Star break vacation on a beach in Mexico, Kidd had 23 points and 10 assists to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 113-98 victory over Harris and the New Jersey Nets on the eve of the first anniversary of the big trade.
Kidd surprised his former mates by nailing three 3-pointers and scoring 12 points in the first quarter. He was even better in the third period, scoring 11 points while piloting a 40-point outburst, Dallas’ best of the season, to turn a close game into a rout.
Antoine Wright continued to show he was more than just a throw-in on the deal by scoring 20 points, including 13 in the third. With Josh Howard scoring 24, and Dirk Nowitzki adding 23, the Mavericks had four starters hit 20 points. Erick Dampier added 10, putting them all in double figures – yet another testament to Kidd’s leadership.
“Tonight, he gave it to us from start to finish and had a great floor game,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He was just tremendous at both ends.”
The Mavs were struggling a few weeks ago, but they’re starting to surge, and Kidd is a major reason for it. Dallas is 7-2 since Carlisle let him start running the offense.
“We’ve put ourselves in position that if we make a run, we can get a high seed,” Kidd said.
New Jersey lost its fourth straight, all by at least 15 points, and Harris looked nothing like the guy who scored 41 points in a 24-point victory over the Mavs earlier this season.
A few days removed from his first All-Star appearance – a nod that revved up questions about whether Dallas gave up too soon on the youngster – Harris went more than 20 minutes before scoring.
He finished with 18 points, but made only five of 18 shots.
Lakers 129, Warriors 121: At Oakland, Calif., Kobe Bryant scored 30 points, Pau Gasol added 24 points and 13 rebounds, and Los Angeles rallied for its 13th victory in 15 games.
Hornets 117, Magic 85: At New Orleans, Chris Paul had 36 points and 10 assists, and New Orleans handed Orlando its worst loss of the season.
Timberwolves 111, Heat 104: At Miami, Sebastian Telfair had 30 points and eight assists, Ryan Gomes added 20 points, and Minnesota hit a season-high 14 3-pointers to spoil Jermaine O’Neal’s debut in Miami.
Cavaliers 93, Raptors 76: At Toronto, LeBron James had 20 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 22 points for Cleveland.
Nuggets 101, 76ers 89: At Philadelphia, Carmelo Anthony had 26 points and 14 rebounds, Chauncey Billups added 22 points for Denver in the Nuggets’ third straight victory.
Bobcats 103, Pacers 94: At Charlotte, N.C., Gerald Wallace had 25 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, and Raymond Felton added 16 points for Charlotte.
Bulls 113, Bucks 104: At Milwaukee, Kirk Hinrich scored a season-high 31 points, and Luol Deng added 21 for Chicago, playing with a short bench after trading four players to Sacramento.
Hawks 105, Kings 100: At Sacramento, Calif., ex-Arizona Wildcat Mike Bibby scored 29 points to help Atlanta beat the short-handed Kings.
Trail Blazers 94, Grizzlies 90: At Portland, Ore., Brandon Roy had 24 points, including two key layups in the final minutes to help Portland improve to 8-3 in its last 11 games.