Might have made things easier Friday night that New York won its third game in a row, 96-88 over Washington, thanks in large part to Carmelo Anthony’s 30 points, Raymond Felton’s 23 and solid defense that held the Wizards without a field goal over the final 4 minutes Friday night.
Despite Kidd’s stat line — 28 minutes, four points, five assists, five fouls, and 0-for-4 shooting on 3s — and the fact that he was on the sideline at the opening tipoff for only the second time in his 50 games this season, he was able to poke a little fun at himself.
“I didn’t come in this league as a scorer and it doesn’t look like I’m going to leave as a scorer,” Kidd said with the hint of a smile. “The big thing is to keep taking those shots. They all feel good, look good. I’ll have to talk to the ‘3’ gods.”
That’s when a voice came from the left of Kidd, who turns 40 this month. It was Kurt Thomas, who already is 40 and didn’t play a minute Friday, pointing out that Kidd ranks No. 3 on the NBA career list for 3-pointers made.
“Thank you,” Kidd said in return.
Otherwise, Kidd emphasized that he and Coach Mike Woodson had discussed the lineup change in recent days “and I was in agreement with whatever he needs me to do.”
In response to a reporter’s question, Kidd agreed that he figured he’d be a backup in this, his 19th NBA season, but that Woodson wanted him to start when the schedule began. Kidd would be fine, he explained, “starting or coming off the bench or not playing.”
Woodson insisted Kidd will come out of his recent shooting slump.
“One of these games, he’s going to bust loose, and he’s going to hit a big one, and we’ll forget all about the ones he’s missed,” the coach said. “He’ll figure it out; he’s been around long enough.”
Until then, the Knicks have other scorers to rely on, none more prominent than Anthony, of course. And even if New York was looking ahead to its game Sunday afternoon against LeBron James and the reigning champion Miami Heat, Anthony made sure his team still picked up a victory over Washington along the way.
Rookie Bradley Beal led the Wizards — who were missing Nene — with a career-high 29 points, falling just short of giving the team its first 30-point performance this season.
“My confidence is sky high,” Beal said.