This was the kind of moment when the Mavs need Jason Kidd the most.
Things had gone haywire for the visitors at the Target Center. The Timberwolves had gone on a 19-5 run to slash the Mavs’ lead to three points with a little more than 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Re-enter Kidd, who made his return Friday night after missing the previous six games with a strained right calf.
Kidd calmly hit a 3-pointer on his first possession after checking back into the game. He had four assists over the next three-plus minutes, finding Jason Terry for a midrange jumper, Dirk Nowitzki for a layup, Terry for a 3 and Nowitzki for a 3.
Suddenly, the Mavs’ lead had swollen back to 13. Ballgame.
“He got us home,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Kidd. “It’s great to have him back.”
Kidd had eight points, 10 assists, eight turnovers, five rebounds and two steals in his first game since Jan. 27. His most important stat: The Mavs were plus-23 in his 27 minutes during the 104-97 win.
A few more notes from the Mavs’ victory in Minnesota:
1. Dominance doesn’t satisfy Dirk: The big German’s groove continued with a season-high 33-point performance, an impressive display of offensive efficiency. Nowitzki, whose season scoring average has risen more than two points over the last four games, hit 11 of 19 shots from the floor and four of seven from 3-point range. “I’m still mad that I missed three free throws,” he said, noting his 7-of-10 night from the line.
2. JET makes buckets count: Terry has so much swagger he never believes he’s slumping. Not even after missing 18 of 22 shots on a road trip. Terry broke out of that funk with three buckets -- a midrange jumper, a floater and a 3-pointer -- in a span of 2:10 during the Mavs put-'em-away run. Terry finished the game with 16 points on 7-of-21 shooting. “His start was a bit of a struggle, but he hung in there,” Carlisle said.
3. Boys of summer ’10: It was quite an interesting night for the guards from the Mavs’ last summer league squad. Rodrigue Beaubois didn’t get off the Mavs’ bench, watching Kidd and Delonte West split the playing time at point guard in Kidd’s return. Dominique Jones was inactive for the Mavs. And Jeremy Lin scored 38 points and dished out seven assists to lead the Knicks to a win over the Lakers.