With seemingly the weight of the world on his shoulders to help carry the scoring burden with Dirk Nowitzki, Terry is getting plenty of help from his teammates, which is allowing him to play an unsung role -- and one rarely attributed to Terry -- on the defensive end against the bigger Portland Trail Blazers' guards that were supposed to have the upper hand in that matchup.
"He's playing a terrific all-around game," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "He's scrambling on defense, playing very solid. Offensively, as a facilitator he's making a lot of good things happen for other players. "To gain the balance we need we're going to need him to continue to do that."
Terry's box score doesn't look all that pretty. He's scored 10 points in each game, well below his season average and has made just 7-of-17 shots. His four assists don't seem like much facilitating, but Peja Stojakovic, who had 21 points in 27 minutes, said Terry's effectiveness in the two games has simply come from being a threat.
"It's his presence on the court," Stojakovic said. "Like tonight, he drew so much attention defensively without even shooting the ball. They always have a guy attached to him, a guy attached to Dirk and that's how we're able to get good looks, J.J. [Barea] and myself and J-Kidd, just playing off off those guys."
Terry, 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, was perceived to be a liability against the bigger Blazers guards, Brandon Roy and Rudy Fernandez, off the bench. Those two combined for one point on 0-of-2 shooting, one game after combining for eight points on 3-of-10 shooting.
"What they [the Mavs] try to do is pressure those guys and make them work," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "Brandon hasn't been able to convert some of his opportunities. Our bench hasn't been able to score."
The matchups off the bench have favored the Mavs. Dallas' bench outscored Portland's 39-11. J.J. Barea turned into a factor in Game 2, scoring six points all in the fourth quarter, four coming on drives to the bucket.
Add another strong offensive performance from Jason Kidd, 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting, and the Mavs are getting enough scoring to take pressure off Terry. Entering the series, a common theme was that the Mavs' chances of advancing hinged on Terry's ability to score and complement Nowitzki.
So far the Mavs are 2-0 without that being the case and Terry, dogged and determined at both ends, is quite appreciative.
"It's huge, it's definitely huge," Terry said. "Again, it's a situation where it's unpredictability, it's flow, it's rhythm. It's not just trying to force feed one guy and get him going because you have so much confidence in everyone around you that, hey, somebody's got to get hot. We've got plenty of weapons and again it's the unselfishness of our team why we're playing the way we are."