At 38 years old, Jason Kidd is the giant panda-rare NBA point guard who, chronologically speaking at least, makes Derek Fisher look youthful by comparison. It's been a while since Fish was the kid in a head-to-head playoff matchup.
"Probably since John Stockton, Mark Jackson in the late 90's, 2000," he said Sunday afternoon, digging deep into the memory bank.
But old as he may be, heading into Monday's Game 1, Fisher and his teammates are showing a healthy respect for Kidd.
"Jason makes them go. He impacts games without scoring the basketball. He's been shooting the ball well from the perimeter, but it's really just his ability to manage the game, get guys in the right spots. He still has very good hands defensively, [and makes] timely steals," Fisher said. "So even though you don't strategize for him offensively, you still have plan for him. You have to play him as an impact player because of how he plays the game."
The numbers speak to Kidd's importance. In 40 games in which he's won the battle of positional differential, the Mavericks are 32-8. When he doesn't, they're a far more pedestrian 21-15. In their opening round matchup against Portland, the Mavs were a much better team with Kidd on the floor.
But it's not simply on offense where the Lakers will keep an eye on Kidd. Phil Jackson suspects he'll spend some time guarding Kobe Bryant late in games, which obviously could make that matchup vital over the course of the series.
Click below the jump for more from Fisher, Jackson, and Lamar Odom...
Fisher, on what makes Dallas a strong defensive team. It's not so much their dominance in any one area, or an overwhelming physicality, but excellent positioning and attention to help defense:
Jackson, on Sunday's practice, Kidd vs. Kobe, and more:
Odom, on challenges the Mavs present for the bench, defending Dirk Nowitzki, and the team's mental approach heading into the series. Stick with the video until the end for a funny moment in which Odom apologizes for entering "boring answer" mode so early in the postseason: