Minute Men: Jason Kidd's minutes up, shooting down

Our weekly look at how coach Rick Carlisle is managing the minutes of Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd during this 66-game schedule:

Rick Carlisle continues to closely monitor the minutes of his two stars and said this week that he believes that keeping their minutes down is the right thing to do and that it will hopefully pay off come April.

Lakers coach Mike Brown said Tuesday that he's concerned about the 37.7 minutes a game that he's played Kobe Bryant. In fact, Pau Gasol is also averaging more than 37 minutes.

Carlisle said as this compressed, 66-game season chugs along, he will start to increase minutes.

Here's a look at where they stand:


Season averages: 29.4 mpg, 4.7 ppg, 4.9 apg, 3.9 rpg

The breakdown: Kidd's stats keep going down except for his minutes. Kidd is now averaging fewer points a game than Brendan Haywood and more than four assists below his career average. In the three games he played this past week since returning from backs spasms, he has played 29, 34 and 35 minutes respectively. He's totaled 13 points and 18 assists. Today's game at Utah will be his first back-to-back since Jan. 4-5.

Dirk Nowitzki

Season averages: 30.5 mpg, 17.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.3 rpg

The breakdown: Carlisle has been extremely disciplined in sitting Nowitzki. One has to wonder if Nowitzki had played more during a hot third quarter Monday against the Lakers if Dallas could have opened a larger lead than five points after holding L.A. to seven points in the period. Nowitzki played 38 minutes last Wednesday in the win against Boston and in the next four games he averaged just 27 minutes. Two of those games were blowout wins and didn't require his services in the fourth quarter, but he played 33 minutes in both tightly contested games against the Lakers and Clippers.