For all of the debate about Jeremy Lin and Raymond Felton this past summer as the Knicks reworked their roster, putting an end to Linsanity in New York, it turns out that the real value may be in the player brought in to mentor either one of those point guards.

Jason Kidd, 39, is now the third oldest player in the game, and is finishing up a career that has him bound for the Hall of Fame when he's done. But in his absence Monday in Brooklyn, Kidd showed just how valuable he is to the Knicks — a fact that the team will live with again as he is out for tonight's game against the Central Division-leading Bucks (7-5).

Kidd sat out the Nets game with lower back spasms after starting the first 12 games of the season as a backcourt complement to Felton. It wasn't just that the Knicks (9-4) lost without him, but how they did.

Without Kidd, who has provided leadership on and off the court and, more important, who is one of the best passers in the history of the game, the Knicks' early-season success moving the ball disappeared. Carmelo Anthony scored 35 points, but was 11-of-25 from the floor and 9-of-14 from the line. Felton struggled to a dreadful 3-for-19 shooting performance.

"He's a big part of what we do," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said of Kidd. "He's one of those veteran guys that can settle things down and help run the team when things are not going very smoothly. But you've got to give [the Nets] credit as well. Their defense held tight."