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Has Jason Terry earned right to crunch-time minutes?

DALLAS – The sight of Jason Terry riding pine during crunch time is rather startling.

After all, this is a guy who has ranked among the NBA’s best fourth-quarter and crunch-time scorers every season since he’s been with the Mavericks, according to numbers crunched by 82games.com. Jet busted out the wings after a bunch of big shots during the Mavs’ championship run, too.

But Terry has been on the bench twice with the game on the line over the last 10 days, acknowledging the obvious that he wasn’t happy about it after Rodrigue Beaubois missed two potential tying shots in the final seconds against the Suns last week.

Has Terry earned the right to be on the floor in those situations regardless of the circumstances?

“A strong case can be made that he has, and I know that I’ve taken a lot of heat in the past for at times having him on the court at times when you guys didn’t think he should be on there,” coach Rick Carlisle said, referring to the Free Roddy B. movement from a couple of seasons ago. “So, that’s something that’s in our rear-view mirror though. We’ve all moved forward. The thing that we’ve got to focus on is this week.”

OK, so if there are crunch-time situations this week, will Terry be on the floor?

“You know, I don’t make any promises about anything,” Carlisle said. “We’ve got to play the games. We’ve got to play the games. If there are 100 of those situations, he’s been on the floor probably 98 of them in three and a half years. I think the bet is pretty good that he’ll be out there.”

The two exceptions, however, are still fresh.

Maybe it’s a wake-up call to Terry. If that doesn’t work, it could be the beginning of a trend.