May 18, 2003: The Impossible Game-Winner
In the first half of Jason Kidd’s career, he earned the nickname Ason Kidd, because there was no J in his game. This lack of shooting prowess was never more evident than in a tightly defended game one of the 2003 Eastern Conference finals against the Detroit Pistons, when Kidd shot just 6-19 from the field.
But Jason Kidd is (insert your favorite sports cliché here). Tied at 74 and heading into the Nets final possession of the game, Kidd had shot 5-18 from the field, but J-Kidd don’t care about no poor shooting game. With 22.2 clicks left, Kidd – defended by Chauncey Billups – took the inbounds pass and dribbled the clock down to seven seconds at half court. He then drove to the right corner, drawing seven-foot Mehmet Okur off of Kenyon Martin, and drilled a 20-foot fadeaway over two defenders for the game-winner with 1.2 seconds remaining.
An incredulous Bill Walton, ABC’s color commentator for the game, said “That’s not his game at all! That’s the last thing you would ever associate with Jason Kidd in terms of coming up with a game winner… people cannot believe it in the Palace!”
The Nets would go on to sweep the Pistons for their second straight NBA Finals appearance. As for Kidd’s lack of a jumper? While he never did develop into a dead-eye shooter, he does end his career with 1,988 treys, good enough for third on the all-time list behind Ray Allen and Reggie Miller. Hardly something “Ason Kidd” could accomplish.