- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 2, 2003

For four years, when he was an assistant coach in New Jersey, Eddie Jordan had the luxury of giving his marching orders to Jason Kidd, the Rolls Royce of NBA point guards.

But last night Jordan, now the coach of the Washington Wizards, found how agonizing it can be to try to stop Kidd.

“It’s like daggers everywhere, the heart, the head, the back and the neck,” Jordan said after Kidd led the New Jersey to a 98-85 dismantling of the Wizards in their home opener.

Kidd dominated, scoring a game-high 30 points, handing out nine assists and grabbing five rebounds.

Even without the services of one of their best players, the New Jersey Nets are the running, jump-shooting model that Jordan hopes his team will be one day.

“They play basketball the right way,” Jordan said. “It’s all about winning and unselfishness, doing all the things it takes to win. We faced a great team tonight and we want to be where they are.”

Playing without the services of power forward Kenyon Martin, the Nets (2-1) put it in cruise control when they wanted to and played hard when they needed to in front of an announced sellout (20,173). They executed their offense and controlled crucial junctures of the game with their defense.

The Nets forced the Wizards into 22 turnovers.

“We turned the ball over way too much,” said Kwame Brown, who finished with six points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes. “And we let them lock into us a little too much.”

Washington’s starters were, putting it mildly, horrendous. Jordan thought so little of the play of starting center Brendan Haywood (four points, three rebounds, two blocks) that he played him all of 13 minutes.

Gilbert Arenas and Larry Hughes, who must carry the Wizards until Jerry Stackhouse returns from a knee injury, combined to score 22 points while shooting a combined 9-for-22. Arenas committed five turnovers. Rookie Jarvis Hayes led the Wizards with 16 points.

“This should be a wake-up call to the first unit,” Brown said. “We would have gotten blown out if the second unit didn’t play so well. They kept us in the game.”

Down by 14 points in the third quarter, Washington, (1-2) going mostly with reserves, used a 16-6 run at the end of the third quarter to pull to within 69-65 at the end of three quarters.

During this stretch, Jordan turned to the likes of Juan Dixon, Chris Whitney, Etan Thomas, Christian Laettner and Jared Jeffries on a night when his starters struggled.

“Our reserves have helped us out in two games now,” Jordan said. “I’ve got to get consistency and effort from my starters. They didn’t give us that so I had to go with the guys who did give it.”

Unfortunately for Washington, most of this success came at the expense of the Nets’ reserves, not against guys like Kidd and Richard Jefferson (19 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists).

When their starters returned New Jersey quickly reasserted its dominance, mostly because Kidd was better than everyone else when he needed to be.

He began the fourth quarter with a pair of 3-pointers. However, the play that best describes what he does so well was a no-look pass in traffic to Kerry Kittles. Kittles, fouled on the play, converted the three-point play and, with just over five minutes to play, New Jersey’s lead was 85-73.

Washington never challenged again.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide