You know how the Knicks welcome back some old-timer on the message board and everyone cheers? Well, Sunday at the Garden, the Knicks welcomed back Jason Kidd -- and everybody cheered.
Kidd isn't a retired player, but the thought that the 39-year-old was nearing the end of his usefulness to the Knicks probably has crept into the heads of some of their fans lately.
Kidd has been in a prolonged shooting slump and was bounced from the starting lineup by coach Mike Woodson on Friday. But he showed signs of life that night and was quite effective Sunday in the Knicks' 99-93 loss to the Heat.
Kidd hit four three-pointers in the second quarter -- when the Knicks outscored Miami 37-22 and built a 16-point lead late in the quarter -- and finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists in 34:27. He shot 5-for-7 (4-for-5 on three-pointers).
"Kidd came out of his shooting slump and made some shots," Woodson said. "We just didn't finish the game. We only played one half."
Along with his threes, Kidd knifed through the Heat defense and scored on a layup with 3:35 to go in the third quarter. He followed that with a drive and dish to Amar'e Stoudemire for a one-handed slam to give the Knicks a 74-63 lead.
It was the first time Kidd had scored in double figures since he had 12 points on Jan. 24 against Boston. He had missed his last 16 three-point attempts.
"He played excellent today," Tyson Chandler said. "Not only with the jump shot but with defense and making the right plays."
On Friday, Kidd had four points, five assists and three steals in 28 minutes in a win over Washington. Before that, he had shot 19.6 percent from the floor in his last 10 games.
"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 after Friday's game.
On Sunday, he echoed that.
"Again, I didn't come in this league as a shooter," he said. "It's just for me to continue to take those shots that present themselves. This afternoon they went in."
James White started in Kidd's place again yesterday and was a non-factor. Matched up with LeBron James to begin the game, White picked up three fouls in the first 4:44. He finished with no points, two rebounds and one assist in 7:47 as the Knicks fell to 2-1 against a Miami team that has won 14 in a row.
"They're a good team -- a great team," Woodson said. "You've got to do everything right to beat that team. We played great in the first half and then we came out and were flat in the third quarter. And it cost us."
Said Kidd: "We had an opportunity here at home to win a ballgame against the champs, so it's something we can look at and get better at -- those mistakes, especially late in the game."