Kidd, Mavs down 1-0; nothing new

NBA playoffs

Jason Kidd has been here before in his first season as coach of the Mavericks, down 1-0 in a third consecutive NBA playoff series.

The Bay Area native is looking for another bounce-back from Luka Doncic and company in his first trip to the conference finals as a coach, which just happened to start in San Francisco.

Kidd is guiding the franchise that was his first home away from home nearly 30 years ago, and is this deep in the postseason for the first time since Kidd was the point guard on the Dirk Nowitzki-led team that won the 2011 title.

“There’s a team out there that’s won a championship starting the same way, losing the first game,” Kidd said after Wednesday’s 112-87 loss to Golden State in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. Game 2 is tonight.

Kidd has kept the conversations on championships since replacing his coach from that 2011 title year, Rick Carlisle. In this case, he could have been referring to those Mavs, who beat Miami in six games after losing the opener.

With a steady hand as the coach, Kidd has help Dallas rally from a 16-18 start to finish in the top four in the West for the first time since 2011.

The Mavericks started the playoffs without Doncic following Kidd’s questionable decision to keep him in a regular-season finale that had clearly become meaningless before the young superstar strained his left calf.

Kidd rejected the idea that he should have pulled Doncic, then the Mavericks won their second game without their All-Star against Utah and did it again when the first-round series moved to Salt Lake City. Dallas eliminated the Jazz in six games, with Doncic returning for the final three.

After losing the first two games at top-seeded Phoenix, neither of which was particularly close, Dallas won four of the last five, capped by a 33-point Game 7 victory. It was the only victory for the road team in the series.

“Coach did a good job of getting everybody to buy in,” Dorian Finney-Smith said. “He’s the only person in the locker room who’s been in this situation. He’s always got a cool, calm, collected attitude, and I think we take that from him.”

Celtics even series

MIAMI — Jayson Tatum scored 27 points, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown each had 24 and the Boston Celtics dominated the first half to roll past the Miami Heat 127-102 on Thursday night and tie the Eastern Conference finals at a game apiece.


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