Celtics guard Jason Terry is keeping a diary for ESPNBoston.com this season. In his third installment, Jet talks about why he grades his play a C, on coaching the Lady Jets, and how he became a Patriots fan. (As told to Louise K. Cornetta)
We’re starting to play a lot better right now. For us, it’s about consistently every night giving a championship effort on both ends of the floor. I think we’ve been doing that the last week and a half. Now it’s going to start to translate into wins for us. It’s time to string together some victories and get on a roll.
This weekend we had Philadelphia on back-to-back nights, which is always tough, especially against the same team. But sometimes it helps when you’re coming off a game like we lost in overtime on Friday. It gives an opportunity in less than 24 hours to learn from your mistakes. You’re very familiar with the team. It almost feels like a playoff scenario. For a veteran team like us, it definitely played to our favor.
On Saturday the difference was we got stops and made shots. While Friday night we were getting stops, they were shooting 37 percent, but our shots just weren’t falling. Saturday was a great defensive effort again for the second consecutive night. Offensively, the ball moved and we knocked down those shots that we were missing. The box score may say KG [Kevin Garnett] didn’t have any rebounds, but I think that’s a statistical error. We’re going to go back to the tape and I think he will be rewarded a rebound. I swear I saw him get one in the first quarter.
Personally, if you asked me how I feel about my individual game, I’d have to say I’m still getting used to the system and my new teammates. A fair assessment from me is a C average maybe. Defensively, I’m very good about where I’m at right now, that’s a part of my game that I picked up pretty quickly here. But still offensively, I’m trying to find a rhythm. It’s a process, but we’re having tons of fun. Even though we haven’t gotten the results we wanted early in the season, I believe it’s going to pay off for us in the end.
I believe in accountability. I had a game against Milwaukee where I felt the loss was on me for not defending Brandon Jennings. I wanted to step up and be accountable for that. For a veteran player like myself, I’ve been in this situation. For me, I always look at my game first after a loss. Hopefully the mistake you made or the shot you didn’t make doesn’t directly result in why we lost. But sometimes it is, and you have to take ownership. You have to be willing to man up. Know that there is another game coming up and if that opportunity presents itself again, you’ll either step up and make the shot or get the stop. That’s just how I live. Case in point was Friday night, I shot 1 of 12 from the field. I told myself that if I get those same looks, I’m going to make the shots with no hesitation at all.
It’s been fun for me to be out there in the starting lineup. I’ve really enjoyed it. The best part of the starting lineup is when they call your name out at home and I spread my wings out and spin around and the fans are going crazy. I like the Boston traditions here like Gino dancing on the Jumbotron toward the end of games we’re winning. That’s one of my favorites right now other than my personal video that I have up -- the "Welcome to Boston" video by Reebok. But KG just loves Gino and it’s so funny to watch him when it plays. He gets so excited. He’s so old school that you can even envision him in that video. Can’t you seeing him doing his little dance on "American Bandstand" back in the day? He’s very focused throughout the game. But when that video comes on, you see a little bit of a smile on his face.
As a visitor coming into Boston Garden, I used to love it. Only reason why I say that is because of the history of the arena with the parquet floor and the fans. The fans were always good to me when I’d come out for warmups. Even though I was the enemy, I would still sign autographs and be very personable and that hasn’t changed.
What else has stood out over the past few weeks? Well, the Nets game was memorable for the [Rajon] Rondo and [Kris] Humprhies scuffle. I was on the court when that happened. At this age and at this point of my career, I’m really not trying to get involved, but instinct takes over and you want to protect your teammates at all cost. If this was 10 years ago, I think I may have thrown three or four punches. I don’t want to get in trouble for that, but I’m pretty sure that’s what would have happened. But at this point, I’m a much more mature player. I do react at times, but I’ve been in the situation where it’s the heat of the battle, a playoff game, a big series and I almost cost my team the series win. So I’ve learned from that experience how to handle those situations. You've really got to look beyond yourself and do what’s best for the team.
I had plenty to say about Humphries after that game and I stand by those comments. Humprhies knows though because I played with Hump. I wouldn’t say we’re good friends, but we’re friendly. But at the same time, now he’s on Brooklyn and I’m on Boston and it’s somewhat of a rivalry. There’s no secret about that. It is what it is. The worst thing was seeing Rondo’s assist streak get snapped. We really wanted to keep it going. Rondo’s been doing such a great job. If we get more wins, they’ll have to start talking about him as an MVP candidate. He’s phenomenal. He plays both ends of the floor every night. He goes hard. If you see someone on the floor, it’s usually him every night.
Those are the type of things we need to do because after that Nets game, Doc commented that we were a soft team right now. We used to run that label in Dallas. They used to call our team soft, Dirk [Nowitzki] in particular. I know me and my upbringing and where I came from. There is nothing soft about me. I know this team. This is a group of guys that there is nothing soft about them either. Some of things that these guys have experienced off the court is amazing. But what Doc was saying was on the court with how we were playing then, with teams that were getting to loose balls and hitting first. That’s what tough is in basketball, being able to get to loose balls and doing the little things out there and hitting first. It’s supposed to be a non-contact sport, but you’re setting screens and being physical and we just weren’t doing that.
I want to say happy holidays to everyone. I have four daughters. All four of my daughters have names that start with J. My name and my wife’s name begin with the letter J. It’s just something that we figured we’d do. We wanted to keep it going. Well, they want a lot for Christmas. The list is long. It’s amazing because my 5-year-old and my 8-year-old had identical lists for Santa. I figured out what happened. My 5-year-old can’t write yet. My 8-year-old just put everything she wanted on her list so it would double-up. I’ll have to figure it all out now.
For myself, I want a win against the Nets in Brooklyn. My family is traveling up for the game. It should be a good experience. A very unique Christmas for the family. It’s always fun playing on Christmas. We’ll have to open presents Christmas Eve. I’ll have to somehow convince my girls that Santa Claus came early because he knew we were going to Brooklyn. I played one other time on Christmas Day and it is special. The NBA is the only thing going. It’s that time of year where you know families are together and around the TV and you know they’re watching NBA basketball.
Speaking of my girls, I coach two of my daughters in AAU basketball in the summer. One is in ninth grade now and the other is in sixth grade. Both teams are called the Lady Jets. I started my organization seven years ago. I also have a boys team called Team Takeoff. We travel and go to national tournaments. They’ve been doing pretty well. I am a tough coach and I don’t play daddy ball. There’s a lot of stuff that goes on like if you look at Little Leagues where fathers coach their kids and want to give them all the playing time and all the shots. I don’t do that. I’m learning because when I retire, I want to be a coach at the college level. So because of that, I have to be a coach and there’s times when I have to get on them and that’s pretty tough. But I think the best thing about coaching my daughters is we get to spend time with each other when ordinarily we wouldn’t. It gives us more stuff to do together. At night, they’ll come and rebound for me and then I’ll rebound for them and then we’ll go about our business.
There’s a big "Monday Night Football" game with the Texans and Patriots. I will be there. I have been to one game earlier in the season too. I’m a huge Patriots fan. I go back to when my high school teammate was Corey Dillon and Lawyer Milloy was a childhood friend of mine. So I have some history there and I’ve been a Patriots fan for a while. I’ll be rooting for them. Now when they played my hometown team of Seattle, I was a little split. But I figured, I couldn’t lose. I just wanted to see a good game. The Seahawks handled them. They’re playing well this year, but I think the Patriots are going to win it all.