Friday, June 3, 2011
Jason Terry returns to closer role
By Art Garcia
MIAMI -- Redemption for Jason Terry may have come in the span of the seven-minute sprint to the finish line in Thursday night's 95-93 victory in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
Terry scored eight points in the 22-5 game-winning spurt, including six straight as the Mavericks battled back from an 88-73 fourth-quarter deficit. While it was Dirk Nowitzki scoring the last nine, it was Terry who got the run started and recaptured the magic -- at least for one game -- that built his reputation as a closer.
Fourth quarters haven't been kind to Terry in the postseason. His playoff shooting percentage in the final period going into Game 2 was 28.6, including 22.7 from beyond the arc. Terry's start to the fourth Thursday didn't clue his finish.
The former Sixth Man of the Year missed his first two shots, with one clanging off the side of the backboard. Terry committed two turnovers and fouled a shooting Dwyane Wade, whose two free throws left the Mavs down 85-73.
But after Wade's 3-pointer gave Miami it's largest advantage, Terry turned his night around and the Mavs did the same in the series. He scored six points on three straight possessions -- two jumpers and two free throws -- as the Mavs pulled within 88-79. Terry's jumper made it 90-86 with 3:11 remaining and his assist on Nowitzki's jumper made it 90-88.
Terry finished with 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting and tied Jason Kidd with a team-high five assists. Terry made three of five shots in the fourth, playing all 12 minutes.
It probably didn't hurt that LeBron James didn't guard Terry much down the stretch, but that doesn't take away from what he did. Terry's strong finish and resiliency mirrored that of the Mavs'.
"I have had games throughout my career where I've struggled," he said. "I've struggled throughout three quarters in the game and then, boom, in the fourth quarter the light comes on. Tonight was another one of those examples.
"In a game with this magnitude, to be down 15 points in that situation, I was just going to do whatever it took to leave it all out on the floor. That's what happened tonight."