NBA Final G2: Kidd deploys off-court tactic

Edwin  - CEO June 8, 2024
Updated 2024/06/08 at 9:21 PM
5 Min Read
Jason Kidd talking with reporters after Game One against the Boston Celtics. Credit: Getty Images/Heavy
Jason Kidd talking with reporters after Game One against the Boston Celtics. Credit: Getty Images/Heavy

Mavericks’ Jason Kidd Throws Shade at Celtics’ Jayson Tatum


Celtics star Jayson Tatum. Image credit: Getty Images/


Ahead of Game Two of the NBA Finals, Dallas Mavericks head Jason Kidd deployed an off-court tactic in hopes of throwing off Boston Celtics‘ star Jayson Tatum, Collin Loring reports for


Asked about going against Jaylen Brown, who had 22 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks, and 2 assists in Game One, Kidd labeled him the Celtics’ best player.


“Jaylen’s their best player,” Kidd said on June 8. “Looking at what he does defensively, he picked up Luka full court, got to the free throw line, he did everything and that’s what your best player does.”


The true intention of Kidd’s comment isn’t lost on anyone. Tatum is widely, if not unanimously, viewed as Boston’s best player.


Dallas’s head coach is attempting to frustrate him with his comments.


Kidd wants Tatum touching the ball more in Game Two, aggressively seeking shots to prove the comment invalid.


He had just 16 points on 6-of-16 shooting in Game One. The Mavericks want him to shoot his team out of it.


It’s unlikely Kidd’s comments get the desired result. It’s not the first time Tatum’s heard such a narrative. And it won’t be the last.


Especially if the rest of the NBA Finals continues along the trends of Game One.


Tatum Responds to Kidd


Tatum met with reporters after Kidd. So there was an opportunity for the media to ask him about the comment. His response was characteristically professional.


“We understand that people try to drive a wedge between us,” Tatum told reporters on June 8. “I guess that’s a smart thing for Jason to try to do. But we’ve been in this position for many years, of people trying to divide us, saying that one of us should be traded and one’s better. So it’s not the first time.”


Brown, too, met with reporters. He nearly ignored Kidd’s comment altogether.


“It’s a team game and we’re trying to focus on that,” Brown said. “And, you know, everybody has their own opinions.”


Veteran center Al Horford had to smile when he heard about Kidd’s comment.


“Jason Kidd, I see what he’s doing,” Horford said. “I see what he’s doing. Jaylen Brown is an unbelievable player. Very special for us.”


Brown and Tatum have been a duo since 2016. The Celtics went 47-17 this season when both played. Boston is 13-2 this postseason, and only three wins away from earning the team’s first championship since 2008.


Porzingis Shines in Return to Floor


Tatum is averaging 25.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.0 steals per game in the playoffs. Brown is averaging 24.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.2 steals.


Neither player had a bigger impact in Game One than Kristaps Porzingis.


Returning after a 10-game absence due to a calf strain, Porzingis came off the bench on a minutes restriction in Game One.


He showed no signs of rust, putting up 11 points in his first 6 minutes on the floor in the first quarter. Porzingis set the tone for the Celtics from the jump and finished the night with 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks.


He told reporters postgame that keeping it simple was the secret in his return to form.


“So whether it’s playoffs, regular season or whatever, I know how to do this,” Porzingis said on June 6. “That’s it, just having that confidence, going out there whatever, first round or finals, just going out there with full confidence and giving what I have to the team.”


Game Two will again be on Boston’s home floor at TD Garden.


Brown, Porzingis, and Tatum will look to take a 2-0 series lead before heading to Dallas for Games Three and Four. And to not let Kidd’s comments prevent them from recreating their Game One dominance in the process.



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