Re: Random thoughts on the playoffs-
i think his confidence is once again down in his shooting and driving, just like it's pretty-much been all season... so he's making a conscious choice to do less of those things and more of what he does best- which is to pass, rebound, steal, run the offense, and play defense on 2's and 3's. nothing new there, either, except that now he surely feels the vital importance of every possession, so my guess is that he's probably shading his game in those directions even further.
numbers-wise kidd shot poorly this season, even for him- 36% overall and 34% on threes. the first number, although low, is not very important in the scheme of things. the second number is a real setback, though, since a big part of his resurgence with dallas has been punishing teams with the 3-ball. but as an older player i think he's become especially reluctant to do anything which would hurt the team or make himself look like a liability.
after all, he's also under a microscope now in terms of 'when does he cross over that dreaded line of going from aging starter to backup for the rest of his career.' and i think we'd all agree that he's done a remarkable job of blowing everyone's expectations on that matter. but the line is getting thinner all the time, and that move -does- have to happen one day (unless he flat-out retires, which he might).
the origin of the problem is this- he's always struggled with both his shot and his confidence in his shot. he never was a natural shooter, and never will be, with that catapult-style release and the mechanical leg-lift. since i starting following him ten years ago i've noticed many times that he's gone to someone for publicised advice on how to correct problems with his stroke, which usually worked for a little while before he settled back in to his old form. he also did this very recently, getting some advice from dirk's coach about 'flipping his wrist down after the release.' you can also see him challenge himself sometimes to make a big shot, presumably to get his stroke going, like he did in game four tonight, in which he very-uncharacteristically tried to create a three off the dribble with a defender in his face. a terry or dirk-like shot, but not even close to a typical kidd shot.
i could try to put together even more examples, and ways in which i think that having a big game one (shooting) against a team like portland can sometimes backfire for kidd, but...
anyway, that's my 4¢ on that.