Jason Kidd-Pablo Prigioni an intriguing backcourt duo
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Jason Kidd played 34 minutes in Saturday's meaningless preseason game. But the 39-year-old guard said he wasn't coming out because he wanted to win.
Pablo Prigioni is 35 and experiencing his first NBA training camp. There may never be a more accomplished NBA rookie than Prigioni, who owns an Olympic bronze medal playing for Argentina as well as gold and silver medals from international competition.
Kidd and Prigioni sparked the Knicks to a 98-95 overtime win over the Celtics with their leadership, defense and ability to execute. They may not always finish games together, but they probably will be on the floor at the same time in the regular season.
"It's so much knowledge on the basketball court," Knicks center Tyson Chandler said. "It's very rare that they're going to make a bad decision, and they're doing it with younger guys. If you put those two guys with other veterans, it can be really good."
Chris Copeland, who is trying to make the roster, scored 18 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. He was very active and played well, but it was Kidd and Prigioni delivering Copeland the ball in pick-and-roll situations that set up the rookie power forward for a layup or free-throw opportunities.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson called the play of Kidd and Prigioni "fantastic" after they totaled seven assists and four steals, and he likes what they can provide for the Knicks in tandem.
"We talked about that when we brought the move to bring them both in, that Kidd can guard [shooting guards] and [small forwards]," Woodson said. "It frees Pablo to handle the ball. He kind of got fatigued at the end. But give the ball to Kidd and now it's his turn to handle it. That's a nice combo to have."
The Knicks will have plenty of combinations they can use, especially given that shooting guard is unsettled. James White started Saturday, but either Ronnie Brewer or Iman Shumpert -- both of whom are rehabbing from knee surgeries -- is expected to be the full-time starter, with J.R. Smith backing up.
Woodson definitely envisions Kidd playing shooting guard alongside Raymond Felton or Prigioni. Kidd and Prigioni won't get rattled after having been involved in so many big games -- so many games, period -- in their careers, and they already enjoy playing together.
"He understands how to play the game," Kidd said. "It's not rocket science. He keeps it simple, plays hard. He's fun to play with because he competes. Throw age out. It's just basketball. We were just talking how easy it is to play when you understand how to play the right way."
Added Prigioni, "It's easy to play with him. We are similar players because we like to play pick-and-roll to create, to pass the ball. We understand each other a lot. He helps me a lot. He talks to me. I feel great playing with him."
Prigioni was the point guard on Argentina's 2008 bronze medal-winning team, was voted the best point guard in the Spanish ACB League three times, and is bringing that experience and toughness to the Knicks in his first NBA season.
"I'm 35," Prigioni said. "I'm not nervous and of course I don't feel like a rookie. I feel like I started the season with another team, with great players.
"I think basketball is basketball. I think I know how to play. If I understand my teammates and my teammates understand me, it will be easy to play because they're great players. If I have good players around me, it's much easier to play."
Notes & quotes: The Knicks had their first day off Sunday since camp opened Oct. 2. Amar'e Stoudemire, who missed the first two preseason games with a bruised left knee, might return for practice Monday. The Knicks also are expected to have updates on Rasheed Wallace (conditioning), Marcus Camby (calf) and Brewer within the next few days.