Commentary

Mavs need consistent Jason Terry

With playoffs in doubt, Jet needs to get right and not worry about his next home

Updated: March 30, 2012, 10:04 AM ET
By Jean-Jacques Taylor | ESPNDallas.com

MIAMI -- Jason Terry wore gold Reebok shoes Thursday night against the Miami Heat, an in-your-face reminder of how he helped the Dallas Mavericks win their first title.

Well, you know what they say about karma.

Terry made just 1 of 10 shots -- he was 0-for-5 in the second half -- and finished with the same number of personal fouls (3) as he did points in 31 frustrating minutes.

[+] EnlargeJason Terry
Steve Mitchell/US PresswireJason Terry had as many personal fouls (3) as points in a 1-for-10 shooting night against Miami and also expressed interest in joining the Heat.

When you wear gold shoes, you have to score more than one bucket.

Seriously.

It's right there in the NBA players' swag handbook.

Miami 106, Dallas 85.

Perhaps Jet struggled because he put too much pressure on himself. Wearing gold shoes is one thing; telling Fox Sports Florida that he'd be interested in playing for the Heat if the Mavs don't re-sign him after the season is just bad business.

"Miami is definitely a title contender. For sure," Terry told the website when asked if he'd be interested in joining the Heat. "[Team president] Pat Riley is a great guy, and what he's done with the organization is tremendous.

"No question, they need a veteran shooter, a guy who can score besides LeBron [James] and [Dwyane Wade] and they know they can count on. I'm a guy that's been in this league 13 years, [averaging] 15 points a night, easy. Off the bench or the starting lineup, it doesn't matter. So I think I'd be an asset to them."

No good could possibly come from those types of comments. Jet's better than that.

Or at least he should be.

This isn't really the time for the 34-year-old to be consumed by his contract. This is the time to help the Mavs make the playoffs. After this latest butt-kicking, the Mavs have only a one-game lead in the loss column against ninth-place Denver, which means the playoffs remain in doubt.

Jet talks about the franchise's loyalty to him all the time, but he owes it some loyalty, too. We all know pro sports is a business, but it's important for the player and the team to treat each other with respect.

When Jet talks about joining the Heat less than two hours before a game against Miami, it's disrespectful to the owner, the coach and his teammates.

The Mavs need him to get his game right on a consistent basis since it's hard for the Mavs to win on the nights Jet struggles, because he and Dirk Nowitzki are the team's only consistent scorers.

Against the Heat, the Mavs needed more offense from the man with the poor attitude wearing the outlandish shoes. The Mavs are 4-4 when Jet fails to reach double figures but have lost three of the past four. Last season, the Mavs were 5-7 when he scored fewer than 10 points.

That qualifies as a trend.

Rick Carlisle took some responsibility for Jet's poor shooting night.

"They had their best defender on him and they were trapping him on the pick and roll," Carlisle said. "I needed to do a better job of getting him good shots. That's on me."

Maybe. Maybe not.

Frankly, Shane Battier may have had more to do with shutting Jet down than Carlisle's offensive schemes.

Miami stole a defensive philosophy from the Mavs, so to speak, opting to use the 6-foot-8 Battier on Terry, much like how the Mavs stick 6-7 Shawn Marion on their opponent's best offensive player.

"When you go 1-for-10," said Jet, "those aren't the kind of looks you want."

Battier harassed Jet, crowding him when he had the ball. Even with his quick release, Jet rarely had a clean look at the basket.

By consistently trapping him on the pick and roll, Miami forced Jet to be a playmaker, which is hardly his strength. Nothing wrong with that strategy, considering he finished with four assists and three turnovers.

Jet can pass the ball effectively in spurts, but the Mavs pay him to put the ball in the basket -- not to set up his teammates.

Dirk provides the foundation of the Mavs' offense and most of it runs through him, but Jet gives the Mavs swag. They feed off his energy. When he hits a key 3-pointer and runs down the court with his wings up, it energizes the Mavs -- no matter how hokey it seems. That's because the emotion, the passion, is all real.

The Mavs trailed 60-53 at halftime, and Jet had made just 1 of 5 shots. Over the years, we've all seen him get into the zone after a bad half or bad three quarters. All it takes, sometimes, is one shot. He never made it against Miami.

Now, the Mavs must face a rested Orlando Magic team on the second night of a back-to-back.

"We'll bounce back," Terry said. "That's all I got."

And then he was gone. Navy blue Beats headphones covering his ears, an iPad 2 in his hands and a scowl on his face.

The gold shoes? They were nowhere to be seen.

Jean-Jacques Taylor is a columnist for ESPNDallas.com.

Jean-Jacques Taylor joined ESPNDallas.com in August 2011. A native of Dallas, Taylor spent the past 20 years writing for The Dallas Morning News, where he covered high schools sports, the Texas Rangers and spent 11 seasons covering the Dallas Cowboys before becoming a general columnist in 2006.

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