Friday, February 8, 2013
Terry diary: KG, Lakers, C's evolving O
By Jason Terry
Celtics guard Jason Terry is keeping a diary for ESPNBoston.com. In his fifth installment, JET talks about Kevin Garnett's milestone, how the offense has changed with the loss of Rajon Rondo, and the trade rumors going around. He also gives some recommendations to pass the time during this blizzard. (As told to Louise K. Cornetta.)
The Lakers game was highly anticipated because I was looking forward to being a part of this rivalry. The fans were pumped up and we had great results. The experience was pretty much what I expected. I look forward to playing against them again. On top of all that, KG [Kevin Garnett] scored his 25,000th point. He's been great as a teammate. Playing against him all these years, I was always in awe of him. His passion, his approach to the game, the way he carries himself on and off the court were all things I admired. Now, being his teammate, it's been everything that I thought it would be and even more. I'm very humble watching him every day. Watching his work ethic, his dedication and, again, his passion that he brings every single day. There's no drop-off with him. He stays consistent. It's something that I've looked at and said that if I had to design an NBA player, I'd first design him with the heart of Kevin Garnett.
Coach Doc Rivers also reached a milestone this past week. He got his 400th win as a coach. We gave him a standing ovation and the game ball on the plane after the Raptors game on Wednesday. His achievement is well-deserved. He's had a great career as a coach. To reach a milestone like 400 wins in any sport as a coach is phenomenal. He achieved this through hard work and dedication. He has the ability to coach players and get them to perform at a high level and then get the result that he is looking for, which is wins -- and that's tremendous. Doc is never one to be upstaged. So we gave him the game ball, and then what do we find at our lockers on Thursday? Cupcakes to show his appreciation to us. I can tell you they tasted pretty good, too. He thanked us for buying into everything he's trying to teach us. I've been with Doc only a short while. Let me see, did I contribute to any of his wins when I was playing against him? I think I may almost be undefeated. There may have been this one time. I can say that when I played against him, I gave him only one win.
Jason Terry delivered in his introduction to the Celtics-Lakers rivalry, scoring 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting and posting a team-best plus-25 in 28 minutes.
From milestones to bad news: We all know now that Rajon Rondo is out for the season. I heard the news, as did my teammates, when we were celebrating our double-overtime win over the Miami Heat in the locker room. Doc came in and Rondo was in the room. I'm not sure who told us first, but it was one of those two. It was a somber moment. Even though we had won the game, we had lost our All-Star point guard and one of our leaders.
There was some encouraging news that came out that Rondo has a partial instead of a full tear of his ACL. There's no question to me that he'll be back sooner rather than later. There is no question in my mind that he's going to work hard to recover quickly. He's a hard worker and is going to do everything in his ability to get back as soon as possible, not rush it, but get back 100 percent and ready to go.
Offensively, there is no point guard now. We have to do it by committee. What it does is put more on us collectively as a group of having to manage the game and then carry the ball. We have to make sure the ball moves on offense. If we have the ball, make a quick decision, keep it moving and get the ball to the open guy. A lot of that of pressure fell in the hands of Rondo solely, but now we have to do it collectively. We have to move the ball more and there is more responsibility together as a team.
We've won our last six games. I think the reason we have been winning has been because of two things. First, defensively we have really bought into what Doc has preaching all season long. He's asked us to come every night ready to do your job. We've done that. We've communicated and gotten back in transition, which had been a big weakness of ours when we weren't playing well.
Second, offensively all year Doc's been preaching to make the extra pass and make each other better. I think in these last six games we've had to because we're without Rondo. Rondo always made sure everyone got the ball and got shots in their spots. Without him, we've had to move the ball. We don't know who is going to get the shot, but we know if we move the ball then somebody will get it and knock it in.
For me, my role now is that I've had to become a little more vocal on the court. It's definitely been something that I wanted to do, but being new to a team and already having three voices, I didn't really think that was my place. Obviously, now without Rondo, somebody has to step up and be a vocal leader. I pick my spots and speak up every now and then.
We just started to get over the loss of Rondo when we get more bad news that Sully [Jared Sullinger] is also out for the season and needs back surgery. Sully was playing tremendous. I've never seen a rookie since I've been in the League come in and play with such consistency. When I say consistency, I mean every night Sully is going to come and rebound, he's going to defend, and he's going to do the little things that are necessary for your team to win. As a rookie, that's tough to maintain over an 82-game season. He has a very high basketball IQ. We love having Sully around and will really miss what he can do. But when you lose somebody and someone goes down, it opens up the door for others to step up and play. For example, Thursday night was very encouraging as Fab Melo got the first points of his NBA career. If Sully's in, I don't think that would have happened.
Without Rondo and Sully, we're going to have to do things by committee. We've been playing smaller lineups, which has put more responsibility on guys like Jeff Green and Paul Pierce for things like rebounding. We've been able to do a pretty good job so far. Our expectations haven't changed at all with these losses. It's still to put ourselves in the best position for the playoffs, which hopefully means home court for one or two rounds, then to win the championship. As you know, we're not getting any younger. Our goal every time we step on the floor is to play Celtics basketball, which defensively is to defend like crazy and offensively is to move the ball and play as a team. The end result, if we do our job, is to win. If we play that way we'll win the majority of our games, and I think we can make a push to win a championship.
Trade rumors, there have been plenty of those lately. We're not stressing over them or laughing them off. We don't respond in either fashion. At one point or another throughout this season, there have been a lot of crazy rumors going around that involve a lot of us. Unless Danny Ainge or Doc comes to us directly, we really don't respond. Our focus right now, as we're missing two of our key players, is that we really can't have any lack of focus because that will deter us from our ultimate goal. We've been really zoned in during practice and shootaround and gym sessions to really take our job seriously and not allow distractions. Most trade rumors can be a distraction at times if you allow them. If you're asking me what should this team do in regards to making any trades, my response would be that has nothing to do with me, that's more so on management. I feel whoever we have right now should be thinking about making sure we get the job done. I believe I said this after the Lakers game -- we should never underestimate the heart of a champion. There are currently three of us on this team who have won an NBA championship, and that's pretty powerful mojo to me.
The All-Star break is coming up. KG will be in the starting lineup. He should be on the All-Star team, whether he plays or not. He should be grandfathered in every single year for what he's done for this league. Similar to when I played with Jason Kidd, regardless of what kind of season he's having, he should always have a spot if he chooses to play in the All-Star Game. It will be fun and an honor to watch the All-Star Game. But for me, I'll be watching from afar, from a sandy beach somewhere in the Dominican Republic. My wife and I are going to the D.R. to relax for a couple of days. Then we'll be back to the grind as we head out for our West Coast trip.
Since everyone is probably stuck at home this weekend because of the blizzard, I thought I'd make some recommendations to pass the time:
* A TV show I recommend is "Boardwalk Empire." For me, I'm into the old gangster movies. It's amazing to see how gambling in the casinos came about. To see some of the old mafia figures portrayed is interesting.
* A good movie to go see is "Django Unchained." I saw it a couple of weeks ago. I just think Jamie Foxx, when he plays a serious role, is still a comedian. I was very amused by the character that he played. [Leonardo] DiCaprio is a beast. I love watching him in movies. Samuel L. [Jackson] also is great.
* I recommend reading "Clifford the Big Red Dog." My daughter loves that book, and it's the last good book I read because it's good for reading to a child. It's amusing to me that no matter how many times you read a book, a kid will still find the story interesting.
* A song you should have on your playlist is from T.I. and it's called "Go Get It." It's very inspirational and gets me pumped up for the game.
* Here's a good piece of advice from my senior high school coach, Ron Drayton, who said, "The road to success is always under construction." To me it means no matter how successful you think you are, you can always get better. Every day is a day you can build on your success through hard work.
As for this blizzard, I'll leave you with this ... do like me and stay in bed deeply underneath the covers and watch a lot of TV.