Thursday, January 31, 2013
New-look offense might suit Terry
By Greg Payne
BOSTON -- Following the Celtics' 99-81 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, Jason Terry was quick to adopt the recent team motto when asked about what his role is with Rajon Rondo out for the remainder of the season.
"My role doesn't change," Terry said, echoing what coach Doc Rivers said prior to Tuesday's practice. "I play the same way. Again, it's been an adjustment for me playing in this system, but I'm getting more and more comfortable."
With the Celtics emphasizing ball movement and spacing, Jason Terry hit five of seven shots for 12 points against the Kings.
It's not quite that simple, though. Boston has maintained since news of Rondo's torn right ACL that players will have to do the same jobs they did before the season-altering injury. While primary responsibilities -- particularly among role players -- might not change drastically, there still will be change. More will be expected of everyone -- of Courtney Lee, of Avery Bradley and, yes, of Terry.
Terry's usage rate -- a stat that calculates how often a player is used within a team's offense -- of 17.3 is his lowest since the 2004-05 season. Prior to Rondo's injury, it seemed Rivers struggled to find the ideal way to use Terry within his offensive system. Couple that with some cold shooting (Terry is shooting just 35.3 percent from 3-point nation, his lowest mark since the 2003-04 campaign) and Terry's Boston stint has been underwhelming, to put it mildly.
But with Rondo out of the picture and the Celtics employing a simplified approach predicated on spacing and ball movement, Terry could see himself in more scenarios that are better suited to how he best plays the game -- something he freely admitted after scoring 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting Wednesday night.
"With this style that we're playing now, I think it's a little more conducive to my game," Terry said.
That's an important part of the equation, as, despite the Celtics not readily acknowledging it, Terry will start to play a greater role. Within the simplified offense, Terry can handle the ball more and, in general, serve as more of a primary option. When Rondo was in the fold, the ball ran through him, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett more often than anyone else. With Rondo out, Terry takes a step up in that line.
His most promising stretch Wednesday was a seven-point outburst midway through the second quarter that accounted for half the scoring in a 14-3 run that stretched the Celtics' lead to 15. He created enough space for himself to rifle off one of his two made 3-pointers, utilizing a Garnett screen at the top of the key, and followed that up with an open jumper from the left corner and a slicing layup a few minutes later.
"He's a great scorer, Jason Terry's a great scorer," Bradley said. "We'll get him involved. It's a little different now, as you can see, without Rondo. The lineups are different. So we just have to learn to play with each other and we will."