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 Mavs 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. He also got the worst of consecutive run-ins with Kidd in the pivotal third quarter, first getting landed on while on defense, then dribbling up the court and having Kidd snatch the ball away while trying to drive by him.
"Obviously they remembered what happened in New Jersey," Harris said. "They came out with more energy. The first two quarters, we were with them stride for stride, but the third quarter is what's done us in all season. Scoring 15, giving up 40, that's a tough stretch to come back from."
Vince Carter started 6-of-8, but missed his last 10 shots, failing to score in the second half. He finished with 15 points on 7-of-21 shooting, mostly while being covered by Wright.
Trenton Hassell, who also was part of the trade, started for New Jersey but didn't score in 20 minutes, taking only one shot.
Kidd didn't reflect much on the anniversary, saying he's more interested in the 29 games left in Dallas' season. Harris boiled it down as an even swap, saying, "J-Kidd is a Hall of Famer, I'm up and coming."
"I had a great time in Dallas, we won a lot of games, I made a lot of friends, but I'm in a different part of my life," Harris added.
Wright was happy to talk about it, saying he was looking forward to the game because he missed the previous meeting this season.
"It was something I thought about over the (All-Star) break," he said.
Wright also has been thinking about his new role on the team. After going from starts to DNPs early on, he's emerged from a pack of players used as the starting shooting guard. His scoring is needed more than ever now that Jason Terry -- the team's second-leading scorer at 19.9 points per game -- is out with a broken hand.
Wright scored 23 points two games before, in the first game Terry missed. This outing shows that was no fluke.
"The one thing I've told Toine is, being here, you're going to get a lot of wide-open shots," Kidd said. "He's knocking down those corner 3s because he's put in the work."
The Mavericks have won the last nine straight against the Nets in Dallas. ... How surprising was Kidd's 12-point quarter? He's scored less than that in 39 of 52 previous games this season. ... Nowitzki had 16 points in the second quarter, tying the most by a Dallas player this season. Howard, Terry and J.J. Barea also have done it. ... Mavs coach Rick Carlisle was asked if Thursday's trading deadline is a distraction. He smiled and said, "I don't think I'm getting traded."
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