"I hate him."
Those were the words from Nets point guard Deron Williams describing Jason Kidd, who just minutes earlier nailed the game-winning 3-pointer from the left wing with 24.1 seconds remaining to put the Knicks up for good, 100-97.
"It was a big shot," Williams said tongue-in-cheek. "Huge shot for them. Like I said, I hate him. That’s a good quote, you can quote that. I hate him."
Perhaps Williams also had a flashback to the summer, when he and Kidd were discussing playing together during their regular golfing outings in Southampton. But Kidd spurned the Nets and Mavericks, signing with the Knicks instead, and Williams was forced to watch his friend, who missed the first matchup on Nov. 26 with lower back spasms, hit the biggest shot of the night to finish off his team.
"Kidd, what can you say, man?" Mike Woodson said postgame. "He's been doing it like that all season for us, so it was fantastic."
Kidd started the game how he finished, by hitting a 3-pointer. That's how he made the biggest impact, which the Knicks needed with all of the double teams being thrown at Carmelo Anthony. When the Nets regularly clogged Steve Novak's airspace in the baseline corners, that left Kidd open on the wings -- and he capitalized, shooting a season-high 6-for-8 from downtown.
"That's why we got him here," Anthony said. "That's why we went and got him. We know how much of a big-time player he is, especially coming down the stretch."
After the game, Kidd, who has the third-most 3-point makes in NBA history, said he realized earlier in his career that he needed to further develop his outside shot in order to continue playing past his prime. That realization came when he was in New Jersey about 10 years ago, when he was "slowing down a bit." Now, he's the league's second-best 3-point shooter this season at 52.8 percent accuracy.
"I knew that if I wanted to play longer, I had to make a shot from the 3-point line," he said. "If I was going to play, I had to hit some shots. It's helped by working hard."
"He has a brilliant basketball IQ," Tyson Chandler said. "He makes shot after shot, play after play -- whether it's a steal, whether it's a 3, whether it's diving for a ball. He just makes play after play after play, and I don't understand it. That's the reason why he's a Hall of Famer."
To sum up Kidd's special performance Tuesday night, it came in the few seconds after he knocked down his game-winner. He was getting up from the floor, after Stackhouse fouled him, and he pumped both of his fists.
"I'm a competitor and I want to win," he said. "That might be the biggest excitement or the biggest celebration that you'll get out of me."
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