Jason Terry and J.J. Barea are struggling

June, 6, 2011
6/06/11
12:16
AM CT

Jason Terry seemed surprised to hear a question about his struggles.

The Mavericks' sixth man responded by telling the reporter he didn't know what he was talking about and might need to watch the film.

But the fact is Terry is shooting a dismal 38 percent from the field in the NBA Finals.

[+] EnlargeJason Terry
AP Photo/LM OteroJason Terry went 5-for-13 in Game 3 and is shooting only 38 percent in the Finals.
And in discussions about other Mavericks helping Dirk Nowitzki -- who scored a game-high 34 points in a Game 3 loss to the Miami Heat on Sunday -- Terry's name and that of fellow guard J.J. Barea come up.

In Game 3, Terry shot 5-of-13 and scored 15 points. Barea, who has dazzled teams with his drives to the basket, went 2-for-8 from the floor.

"Inconsistent" is the word Terry came up with when asked about the bench play. "We've been very inconsistent,. Obviously, offensively is where we like to get in the paint and finish plays, and we haven't done that. A lot of that falls on my shoulders, and so again in Game 4, I will be real aggressive. I have to be for us to be successful."

In the last five minutes of Sunday's game, Terry missed critical shots.

With his team trailing 84-78, he missed a 3-pointer and, after an offensive rebound by Nowitzki, got the ball back and missed a floater.

Terry had another attempt, this time with the game tied at 86 and about a minute to play, but missed a 21-foot jumper from the corner, and Chris Bosh scored on the other end for the lead.

"We have to make baskets," veteran guard Jason Kidd said. "We had some great looks that didn't go down for us, especially late in the game. So we have to continue to take those wide-open looks, and hopefully in Game 4 they go down for us."

During the regular season, Terry averaged 15.8 points and shot 45 percent from the floor. But he struggled toward the end of the season, shooting less than 40 percent in five of his last 10 games in which he logged double-digits in minutes. In the postseason, Terry came alive. He shot 58.7 percent in the Western Conference semifinals against the Los Angeles Lakers, getting 23 and 32 points in Games 3 and 4, respectively.

But it seems Terry has fallen back to earth a little. He shot 36.9 percent in the conference finals despite two games in which he scored at least 20 points.

Through the first three games of the Finals, he's missed missed seven, six and eight shots. And he is battling a bone bruise to his right wrist suffered in Game 1.

But he won't use it as an excuse. He gave credit to the Heat for giving him different looks on defense Sunday night.

"A lot of my looks are contested, but hey, it’s the NBA Finals and they’re going to contest every shot," Terry said. "And hey, we have to be more and more aggressive, and we’ll see what happens."

There also was a thought that Barea would be an X factor for the Mavericks in this series. In a three-game stretch from the Western Conference semifinals to the conference finals, Barea scored 22, 21 and 11 points.

Since then, he has struggled.

He is getting to the basket but isn't converting. And Sunday night, he missed four of five 3-point shots. In three games in the NBA Finals, Barea is shooting 3-for-15.

"I think had some open looks, especially [some] 3s, and they felt great and some were long and some were short. They just didn't go down for me," Barea said. "I'm going to keep shooting them. This team needs me to make shots, and everybody needs to make open shots, and we kinda struggled with that tonight."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsS. Marion 6.5
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9