Vinsanity is Back--Plus, Remember When J. Kidd Was the NBA's Best Point Guard? He Still Might Be...Vince Carter was just plain old "VC" in the first two games of the New Jersey-Toronto series, played in the decidedly unfriendly (at least toward him) confines of the Air Canada Centre--but now that the series has moved to the very friendly confines of Continental Airlines Arena, "Vinsanity" and "Half Man, Half Amazing" have reemerged in full flower. Carter had 37 points on 15-23 shooting in a 102-89 game three win and followed that up with 27 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in just 30 minutes in a 102-81 game four victory on Sunday that put the Nets up three games to one. If the Raptors had kept the game close enough so that Carter had to play 40 or 45 minutes, he might have had 40 points and a triple double--which he actually did against Washington on April 7 in a 120-114 win: 46 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists.
Speaking of that amazing April 7 game, Jason Kidd also had a triple double in that contest: 10 points, 18 assists, 16 rebounds. Kidd and Carter became the first teammates to have a triple double in the same game since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. What does that have to do with game four of the Nets-Raptors series? Kidd and Carter had a very realistic shot of becoming the first teammates in postseason history to post triple doubles in the same game. Kidd had 12 points, six rebounds and seven assists in the first half, while Carter had 21 points, six rebounds and five assists. The Raptors fell behind by as many as 33 points, though, allowing Kidd to shut it down early and rest his sore left knee; Kidd finished with 17 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds.
Kidd has already said that this was the best season of his career, even better than when he was an MVP candidate a few years ago after resurrecting the Nets and leading the team to back to back Finals appearances. He is averaging a triple double for the entire series, a feat that he previously accomplished in the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals. Magic Johnson (four times), Wilt Chamberlain (twice), Oscar Robertson and Fat Lever are the only other players who have ever done this. Kidd is so good that, as TNT's Steve Kerr noted, he is a rare player who can dominate a game without scoring; Marv Albert wryly noted that in one game this year he mentioned on the air that Kidd was only 10 points away from a triple double.
Kidd had microfracture surgery a few years ago and seemed to have disappeared from the roster of the league's elite players, at least in the popular mind. He had a bit of a resurgence last year and this year his game has returned with a vengeance, which just brings to mind again the question that I have posed here, in various forms, for a while: Why has Steve Nash received so much more MVP consideration than Kidd, Stockton, KJ, Price and other great playmaking guards of the past 20 years ever did? I always felt that Kidd, Stockton, KJ and Price were underrated--not that they should have won an MVP in this year or that year, but that they should have received more consideration (Kidd did finish second to Tim Duncan one time). Prior to 2004-05, I actually thought that Nash was underrated as well--but now he's won two MVPs and people just casually throw around the idea that he is the best point guard and best passer ever. Ever?! I think that Nash is great and I actually have thought that a lot longer than most other people have; Nash reminded me of Mark Price back when Nash was getting booed early in his career and not even an All-Star, much less a two-time MVP (by the way, Price is one of the most underrated guards ever, so anyone who thinks that I am "hating"--in the overused word of the month--by comparing Nash to Price just does not get it).
It probably won't happen--for either team--but wouldn't a Kidd-Nash showdown in the NBA Finals be interesting?
posted by David Friedman @ 5:21 PM