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Kidd Shows Clippers Some of His Magic

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Magic Johnson was the NBA’s best point guard when he walked away from the Lakers in 1991, but there’s a new kid on the court.

Dallas Maverick guard Jason Kidd, who grew up idolizing Johnson, demonstrated that he’s ready for that role by registering his league-leading fifth triple-double of the season, getting 21 points, a career-high 16 rebounds and 16 assists as the Mavericks beat the Clippers, 105-101, Tuesday night before a crowd of 16,446 at Reunion Arena.

Was Kidd sending a message to Johnson?

“There’s no reminders, he’s the best at it,” Kidd said. “When he decides to quit, hopefully I can follow in his footsteps.

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“I’ve still got a long way to go. On any given night it can be between Magic or [John] Stockton as the best point guard. And you can throw Anfernee Hardaway in there as well.”

Kidd is thrilled at the prospect of facing Johnson when the Mavericks play the Lakers on Feb. 16 at the Forum. “I was really sad when they had the ceremony to retire Magic’s jersey,” Kidd said. “I guess they’re going to take the jersey off the wall, because now he wears it. It’s going to be a dream come true to go against him. He understands the game so well. That’s why he’s my idol.

“But I hope he’s not playing point guard. If he’s weighing 255, there’s no way that I can guard him. He’s already 6-9. It’s a mismatch. I know how Muggsy Bogues feels.”

As soon as the game ended, the Mavericks gathered around a big-screen TV in their locker room to watch Magic’s comeback.

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“You’re talking about the best point guard that ever played the game,” Kidd said. “Everybody in the world is excited about Magic coming back. Everybody wanted to watch him on TV to see what he’s going to do next and what new stuff he’ll bring to the game.”

Playing an entire NBA game for the first time in his two-year career, Kidd made eight of 19 shots, including three three-point baskets, as the Mavericks erased a 15-point first-half deficit.

With Clipper center Brian Williams sidelined for the second time in the last three games because of a strained left arch, center Stanley Roberts made his first start since Dec. 4, 1993 and scored a season-high 17 points in 21-foul plagued minutes. It was the most points he has scored since the 1992-93 season.

But Roberts, who has missed 173 games over the last three seasons because of injury, tired in the fourth quarter as the Clippers lost for the sixth time in their last seven games.

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“If Stanley ever gets in shape, he could be an outstanding player in this league,” Fitch said. “If he ever learns to play within himself when he’s tired, he can be better than average.”

Roberts, who scored seven of the Clippers’ first nine points, said he needs to get in better condition.

“I got a little tired at the end of the game,” he said. “I’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

NBA Notes

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Clipper center Brian Williams on the return of Magic Johnson: “I think [Charles Barkley] said it best, we’re not out there to have unprotected sex with him. Guys obviously get cut all the time, but you rarely see one guy’s blood on another player. I don’t see any problem, but when you see Magic get cut, it’ll be like turning on the lights with a kitchen full of roaches.”


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