What Jason Kidd does on a basketball court never has been in dispute. The big shots. The astounding defense. The how-in-blazes-did-he-do-that passes. The triple doubles.

But just as impressive is what Kidd does for those around him. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle saw it first hand in Dallas, and he sees it now with Kidd on the Knicks.

"Kidd has got them very highly focused. I definitely see a difference with the resolve of their guys with the look in their eye and he has that effect on teams," Carlisle said before the Knicks' 104-94 victory over the Mavericks Friday night at the Garden. "[He's] getting his number retired in two different buildings in all likelihood. The level of accomplishment of Kidd is one of the most storied careers that has ever been, if you think about it."

Carlisle and the Mavericks saw it again last night, even if it were only a small sample. Kidd played just 15:28 — but he made the most of the time — as the Knicks moved to 4-0. The win was nice — and the fact it came against it old team didn't hurt, though Kidd refused to gloat.

"No matter who the opponent was, we needed to go out and get a win to keep the momentum going," said Kidd, who had six points and three assists while contributing to the Knicks often infuriating defense that forced 20 turnovers. "We were a little flat to start the game. ... The start of the third quarter, we got stops and made baskets to put the game in our favor."