Friday, June 13, 2003

Injured ankle slows Kidd against Spurs

The Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - There was more behind New Jersey's decision to switch defenders on Tony Parker than to slow him down.

Not only is 6-foot-5 guard Kerry Kittles quicker than Jason Kidd, he also has two healthy ankles. The switch in Game 4 of the Finals limited Parker to three points on 1-for-12 shooting as the Nets evened the series.

While Kidd isn't limping, he has been bothered by the right ankle he sprained May 24 in Game 4 of the Nets' sweep of Detroit in the Eastern Conference finals.

"I know J's ankle is still swollen a little bit," Anthony Johnson, Kidd's backup, said Thursday. "I know he is not going to use that as an excuse, the guy that he is. J is playing a lot of minutes, and when you play a lot of minutes on a bad ankle, it wears on you."

After averaging 20.3 points, 8.3 assists, 8.4 rebounds and 4.4 turnovers in the first three rounds of the playoffs, Kidd's numbers have slipped against the Spurs. He is averaging 17.0 points, 8.3 assists, 6.5 rebounds and four turnovers in a series where defense dominates.

His shooting percentage has dropped from the mid 40s to 33 percent.

More telling is that the 6-foot-2 Parker dominated Kidd in the Spurs' wins in Games 1 and 3. He was so quick, Kidd had trouble staying with him coming off screens.

"I don't think we've seen the best of J-Kidd," Nets coach Byron Scott said. "He can play better. I'm sure he would tell you the same thing."

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