Jason Kidd was badly outplayed by his counterpart at point guard in his return to the Dallas Mavericks. That seems unlikely to happen a second straight time.
The first point guard taken in the draft 14 years ago goes against the first one picked last year on Friday, with Kidd hoping to fare much better in his second game back with the Mavericks as they visit Mike Conley and the Memphis Grizzlies.
Kidd also looks to help Dallas (35-19) avoid its longest road losing streak this decade. A loss Friday would give the Mavericks five straight road defeats for the first time since dropping eight in a row from Nov. 7-30, 1999.
Dallas made Kidd the second overall pick in the 1994 draft and he spent his first 2 1/2 seasons there before being traded to Phoenix. The Mavericks re-acquired him from New Jersey in an eight-player deal Tuesday, and he started the following night in a 104-93 road loss to Western Conference-leading New Orleans.
The fourth overall pick in the 2005 draft outshined Kidd in a big way, as Chris Paul led the Hornets to victory with 31 points, 11 assists, nine steals and five rebounds. Kidd was limited to eight points and five assists - less than half his season average - while committing six turnovers in nearly 37 minutes.
"I caused a couple of breakdowns," Kidd said. "We can build on this. ... I have some bad habits. I just have to make some adjustments and look at the game. I just need to keep getting the feel of everybody and go to practice tomorrow."
Coach Avery Johnson was anything but critical of his new point guard, taking into account Kidd had been through only one full practice and one game-day shootaround with the Mavericks.
"He made some great passes and some of the time guys weren't looking for the ball," Johnson said. "This is kind of like a mini-training camp. We just don't have a lot of time. But at the same time, we need every practice and every game for everybody to get on the same page and everybody to get used to playing with Kidd."
The caliber of Kidd's next opponent, or the point guard he's facing, is not nearly as high.
The Grizzlies (14-40) own the league's third-worst record, having lost nine of 10, and Conley is still growing accustomed to the NBA. The fourth pick in last summer's draft took over as Memphis' starting point guard midway through the season and has had limited success, averaging 9.1 points and 4.6 assists.
Conley had 11 points in the first quarter Wednesday as Memphis built a 10-point lead over the Los Angeles Clippers, but he scored only five more and finished with just two assists in a 100-86 loss.
"We did not play as well collectively as a group," Conley said. "We were not as aggressive as we came out in the first quarter, in the first half at least. We turned the ball over and made a lot of mistakes, just little errors that add up to be a big thing."
Conley has not faced Kidd because a shoulder injury forced the rookie to sit out Memphis' first game of the season against New Jersey on Nov. 27.
Kidd had one of his league-high 12 triple-doubles in that game - he's one shy of 100 for his career - but the Nets lost 110-103.
Dallas, though, has won the last 10 meetings with the Grizzlies - three this season - and seven in a row at Memphis since Feb. 17, 2004. The Mavericks are 43-7 in the all-time series.
Those facts bode well for a Dallas team seeking its first road win since Feb. 4 at Orlando. Since that 107-98 victory, the Mavs have averaged 87.0 points in four road games while shooting 39.1 percent from the field.
The Grizzlies have allowed their last three opponents to shoot a combined 49.4 percent and average 103.3 points.
On offense, Memphis continues to be led by emerging second-year swingman Rudy Gay, who has scored more than 20 points in five straight games.
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