Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd were both very viable candidates for “player of the night” honors on Wednesday, not only among Mavericks but in a league-wide determination. The ultimate decision would be a matter of opinion (there were plenty of other excellent performances to choose from on Wednesday, from Chris Paul to Monta Ellis to Russell Westbrook), but both Mavs’ nights could go toe-to-toe with just about any of them.
The production. The efficiency. Just splendid.
So much so that I wondered how Kidd’s performance, specifically, popped from a historical perspective. Notching 18 assists is impressive, but hardly notable in the grand history of the league. Plenty of players have had 18-assist outings, and Kidd is no stranger to them himself. But 18 assists with just one turnover? All of that playmaking with but one bumbled pass, one overly ambitious maneuver, one forced dish? It had to be a bit more rare.
It was. Kind of. But not as rare as one might think.
There have been 49 18-assist, one-turnover performances since the ’86-’87 season, including a pair of gaudy John Stockton lines that top the list. Does that make Kidd’s performance any less elite, particularly considering just how profound of an impact he had on Wednesday’s game? Of course not. Does the fact that Brevin Knight also accomplished the feat make me sour a bit on it? Yeah, probably. He’s Brevin Knight.
But Jason Kidd is Jason Kidd, and that performance we saw from him in the season opener was dominant. He couldn’t have done it without Nowitzki and Jason Terry in rhythm, but that was a brilliant performance nonetheless. Even without the benefit of historical significance, that was a spectacular demonstration of Kidd’s playmaking eminence.