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Thursday, April 19, 2012
3-pointer: Jason Terry determined to fly through lane

By Jeff Caplan

DALLAS -- Delonte West is a pretty tough guy, so he knows tough when he sees it. And he says Jason Terry is as tough as they come.

Terry showed it when midway through the fourth quarter of a still nip-and-tuck battle against the Houston Rockets, he yet again made a determined drive to the bucket. Terry broke free and rose up, going for a rare, one-handed stuff against Houston big man Patrick Patterson.

He got to the rim, but couldn't finish off the dunk as he got hammered to the ground and was left their laying flat on his back, writhing in apparent pain, knees bent and his feet alternately pounding the floor.

"He gave us all a scare for a minute," West said. "I saw his legs go underneath him and that's not good. But, one thing I learned about Jet, he's a fighter. I played in Seattle (2007-08) before they moved to Oklahoma City and I visited his high school. All they could talk about is his toughness. When he jumped up, I knew what time it was."

Go time, is what West meant. Suddenly, Terry went from needing an ambulance to hopping to his feet and bouncing to midcourt while waving his arms and playing to the crowd in typical Jet fashion.

"He didn't need an ambulance," Jason Kidd said. "When you got a shooter or a scorer they want to get those two free throws. They’re not coming out of the game."

The Mavs' playoff hopes were greatly dependent on Wednesday's 117-110 victory over the Rockets, who were virtually eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.

Terry missed the second of the two free throws, but the first gave the Mavs a 97-92 lead with 6:22 to go. On the next possession, Terry drove again, but missed a 6-footer. But, the miss is beside the point. Terry, a streaky and often cold-blooded jump shooter who is also often criticized for living and dying by the long ball, is making a concerted effort in recent games to get to the cup, not unlike his fearless 2011 postseason.

"Yeah, I am," Jet said when asked if he's been more committed to drive. "That's what time of year it is for us and somebody's going to have to get to the basket for us. Again, sometimes it works and sometimes it don't. The one in the Lakers game I wish I had that drive back to do again. But, teams are playing me for my jumper. I have to be more and more aggressive to get to the paint."

1. Jet can still shoot it, too: Just because he's driving more doesn't mean Terry is going to stop launching 3s. He put six against the Rockets and nailed three of them. His first made 3 in the second quarter moved him ahead of Chauncey Billups and into fourth place on the NBA's all-time 3-point list. Terry now has made 1,786 3-pointers in his 13 seasons. Who's next on the list? Jason Kidd with 1,874.

2. Matrix takes a seat (again): For the second consecutive game, Shawn Marion was a spectator in the fourth quarter. The man the Mavs have pumped all season as a leading Defensive Player of the Year candidate has been stuck on the pine while Vince Carter has logged the crunch-time minutes. It's hard to argue with the results. At Utah, Carter had 18 points and 12 rebounds as that unit rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final five minutes of regulation and then went three overtimes before succumbing. Carter had a season-high 23 points against the Rockets and the fourth-quarter unit rallied to score 39 points for the win. Just don't expect to see Marion riding pine in the fourth quarter of playoff games when Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant are playing on the other team.

"We're trying to win games right now," coach Rick Carlisle said. "They had a good rhythm going and that's all it was."

3. Center rotation: Brandan Wright returned to the spotlight as the Mavs' three-headed center position continues to rotate from game-to-game.  Against big Andrew Bynum and the Lakers on Sunday, Brendan Haywood played 38 minutes. At Utah, Ian Mahinmi logged 35. On Wednesday, Wright played 21 minutes, six more than the starter Haywood and nine more than Mahinmi. Wright finished with four points and five rebounds.