The Phoenix Suns came back from a 22-point hole to defeat the Dallas Mavericks, handing them their first painful loss of the 2022–23 season. There’s a chance that this loss would have been completely avoidable if Jason Kidd had decided to keep Christian Wood at centre.
Despite the fact that the Mavericks gave up a sizable deal to acquire Christian Wood this offseason, he started the game from the bench. It made little difference since Wood still managed to score 25, including 16 straight points to end the third quarter and start the fourth. With six minutes left in the game, Kidd replaced him, and Dallas’ entire season came crashing down. Wood, though, doesn’t criticise his coach and acted honourably when speaking about Kidd’s choice later.
Just being a member of this team makes me happy. It’s simply a matter of trust late in games. I need to earn this team’s trust. On a new team, I am. I believe we’ll be fine once I complete that. Sports Illustrated’s Christian Wood
The good news for Dallas is that Wood has no complaints in this situation, but it’s obvious Kidd made the incorrect decision by benching Wood, especially in light of how well he had been playing in the fourth quarter. The Mavericks’ second-best player that night was Wood, and no other frontcourt player came close to matching his output.
Moving ahead, Wood should start for the Mavericks, and it will be fascinating to see if Kidd makes up for his mistakes from Dallas’ season-opening game. It’s obvious that Kidd erred here, and while Wood doesn’t hold him accountable, if he keeps making poor decisions, that may change.
Christian Wood responds to Jason Kidd’s strange decision to remove him from the game against the Suns after 16 straight points.