Jason Kidd, Ray Allen And Others Prove There Is A Country For Old Men In The NBA

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As we watched the NBA playoffs unfold over the weekend, a few of my questions were finally answered about the mind-set of the NBA general manager. I kept asking myself why teams were so hell-bent on bringing in old veteran players right before the playoffs started. After watching the first playoff weekend, the answer was right in front of me.

If you watched the games, you saw veteran players take control and decide the outcomes of the games. More times than not, the veteran ball player was able to make a key play that changed the momentum of the game.

The games started with the Knicks hosting the Celtics in the Garden. Carmelo was doing what Carmelo does, but the Knicks were struggling to put the Celtics away. The Knicks decided to turn up the defensive intensity in the second half as both teams continued to struggle from the field.

When the Knicks needed defensive plays the most, it wasn’t any of the young guns who were coming through for them; it was the old legs of Jason Kidd. Kidd made a key deflection that led to two points for Ray Felton, and then he stripped what looked like an easy layup that led to a Carmelo shot and make on the other end as the Knicks put the Celtics away in game one.

Kidd wasn’t the only veteran to step up in that game. The play of Kenyon Martin was big as he did a lot of the dirty work that goes overlooked when you are an advocate of box scores for player results. Martin was all over the place, altering shots and grabbing tough rebounds. Without Martin the Knicks would have been in serious trouble against the likes of Kevin Garnett.

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The NBA didn’t deliver a ton of excitement, but the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors game was one for the books. All the hype was about the young, athletic players on both teams, but the game came down to the great play of the savvy veteran Andre Miller. Miller isn’t what he once was, but he can still get it done. Regardless of who Golden State put on him, he found a way to be what he is. The game-winning field goal that Miller hit was a microcosm of the impact that veteran ball players have had on the NBA this season.

Sunday’s action was just as solid. The early games were pretty predictable as the Spurs had their way with the Lakers. If you watched the game you had to wonder how Tim Duncan still does it at such a high level. Duncan was the dominant big man on the floor as the Lakers and Spurs battled. Regardless of who was guarding him, Duncan seemed to always make the right play at the right time.

Duncan wasn’t the only veteran to do damage in this game. The return of Manu Ginobili was also critical to the success of the Spurs. Ginobili has been banged up as of late, but he seems to have come back with a vengeance on those 35-year-old legs.

The Miami Heat is clearly the odds on favorite for the Eastern Conference title. They opened up against a very young Milwaukee team, and the game was pretty systematic for the Heat. Milwaukee made several runs, but every time the Bucks got it close it seemed like Ray Allen would hit a shot to change the momentum of the game. When it wasn’t Jesus Shuttlesworth hitting big shots, it seemed like Shane Battier was making things happen on the defensive end with a deflection or drawing a charge.

Apparently the guys with the most energy this year in the playoffs are the old guys who are still hungry for that championship. This proves that the NBA is still a place for old men.

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