Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Backed into corner, Jason Terry responds
By Calvin Watkins
Jason Terry is never one to back down from a fight, especially in the NBA Finals.
His teammate, star forward Dirk Nowitzki, called Terry out for not making clutch shots in the Game 3 loss to the Miami Heat. His other teammate, point guard Jason Kidd, didn't call Terry by name but said the Mavericks need to make important shots down the stretch.
Jason Terry responded with 17 points in Game 4 after getting called out for his struggles.
Terry took the comments as a personal challenge and even challenged the man guarding him in Miami's LeBron James. This is probably the best way Terry plays. When pushed into a corner, Terry responds.
Terry said he was going to play aggressive and attack the basket and not hesitate on jumpers.
In Game 4 of the NBA Finals, with the Mavericks needing someone, anyone, to pick up the scoring slack, it was Terry who did so off the bench. He scored 17 points in 35 minutes in the Mavs' Game 4 victory. The series is tied 2-2, and despite the criticism Terry's taken since the Game 3 loss at the AAC, he takes everything in stride.
It's as if nothing is bothering him.
"The aggression was there for me personally," Terry said. "And I like that, that I was on the attack, which I said I would be. But as far as that relating into baskets, it didn't really happen for me."
Terry started the game making his first two shots but then misfired on four of the next five. In the fourth quarter, a period in which Terry is judged almost as much as Nowitzki, he provided his team with a spark just like he did in the Game 2 comeback victory. He scored on a layup to put the Mavs ahead, 79-78. He had another chance to push the lead later in the quarter but had a jumper go in-and-out.
And when the night was nearing its end, it was Terry who made two clutch free throws, with 6.7 seconds to play, that gave the Mavericks an 86-83 lead. Earlier, Dwyane Wade went one-of-two from the line on a trip that could have tied the score.
Terry attempted a variety of shots with James covering him. It's a difficult task for Terry, who gives up about six inches to James in height.
Still, Terry welcomed the matchup.
"His length obviously is going to bother me if I shoot it in his face, it's going to be contested," Terry said. "So percentages on those shots are going to go down. But if I can get in the paint and draw the defense and then make the pass or make the shot, then that's going to be advantageous for us. That's something I looked to do."
In the Game 3 loss, Terry missed a 3-point attempt, failed to convert a layup and missed a jumper from the corner down the stretch. In the Mavs' two losses, Terry is 0-for-7 from the field in the fourth quarter. In the two victories, Terry is 6-of-12.
"Jason Terry is a great player," James said. "When he plays well, Dallas plays well. He's the reason why these guys are in The Finals and that's the reason why he's been one of the top guys and [wins] Sixth Man Award every year because he plays well for this team."