Jason Kidd: The old man and the 3

DALLAS -- When Jason Kidd knocks down 3-pointers he can change the dynamic of the game. The Mavericks hope Wednesday's hot performance was a sign of things to come.

Take the final 2:10 of the second quarter Wednesday night in a must-win game against the Rockets, for example. Houston was starting to loosen up a tight game, leading 51-46, and one in which the Mavs weren't playing terribly well.

Kidd had yet to score until he spotted up for a 24-footer and drained it. Two possessions later he hit another, and he did it again on the next possession, giving the Mavs a 9-2 run in 80 seconds for a 55-53 lead. They went into the break tied when it could have been headed for a much more tense halftime locker room.

Kidd's biggest 3 came with 2:04 left in the game as the Mavs were pulling away with a 39-point fourth quarter in their eventual 117-110 victory. Not because it kept the Rockets at bay and extended the lead to nine, but because it came in his 33rd minute of action two nights after he totaled 84 minutes in the back-to-back at the Lakers and Jazz.

"He wasn't going to let me take him out of the game in the fourth quarter," coach Rick Carlisle said. "That's where that was at. I didn't try. I was talking to the trainer the whole time and he was doing well. It's something else."

That's what Kidd's teammates said about the play he made at the other end just before he hit his fourth 3 on seven attempts. With the Rockets looking to cut the Mavs' lead to four, Kyle Lowry drove hard to the basket. Kidd stepped in front of him, absorbed the full-on contact of the stout Houston guard and got the charging call.

"The game-winning play to me was when he stepped in there and took the charge, that was an unbelievable play," Dirk Nowitzki said. "He's a warrior and he leaves it out there every night when he's out there, and I think he moves better than obviously at the beginning of the season. He's got a little pep in his step. He's still the head of the snake."

And the head, which had 12 points, eight assists and just one turnover, said he's ready to be on the floor more. Kidd has averaged a career-low 28.7 minutes by design and the restrictor-plate theory enforced by Carlisle without waver appears to be paying off with three games to go until the playoffs.

In his last three games, Kidd has logged 35, 45 and 39 minutes. He's played at least 33 minutes in his last four games after playing no more than 35 minutes all season and reaching that threshold just three times. In those last four games, he's 13-of-24 from beyond the arc. Not bad.

"We're getting closer to the postseason, so I want to be out there to help my team and my teammates win," Kidd said. "It's time to go. We can rest later on during the summer... My minutes have been down all season, so now it's time for me to get ready to play more minutes going into the postseason. I feel great, and with that being said, I'm ready to go."

That's great news for the Mavs. Even better he can keep the 3s coming.