Jason Terry: ‘My best basketball is ahead of me’
|03.02.13 at 12:35 am ET|
It’s been a month since Jason Terry proclaimed the unpredictable, “free-wheeling” and Rajon Rondo-less offense more suitable to his style of play, but he’s been just as inconsistent as he was for the first three months of the season, including Friday night’s disappointing 2-for-11 performance against the Warriors.
“At this point, I’m as comfortable as I’m going to get,” admitted Terry after the 94-86 victory. “It was an adjustment period earlier, but now the way we’re playing, things are flowing and we’re having fun.”
While Terry’s shooting percentages (43.9 FG%, 36.8 3P%) are comparable to last season’s (43.0, 37.8), he’s been held to five points or fewer on 14 occasions and scored 20 or more points just three times this season. On the Mavericks in 2011-12, those numbers were essentially reversed.
“I’m very satisfied right now,” said Terry, who finished with seven points on his 11 shots in 30 minutes Friday night. “We’re winning, and that’s the most important thing. You never want to be too hard on yourself. So, for me, my best basketball is ahead of me. I’m a guy that in big games is going to hit big shots and make big plays.”
One thing Terry never lacks is confidence, and that should only benefit the Celtics going forward. If his best basketball has yet to come, the C’s 11-4 run in the 15 games since Rondo’s injury is all the more impressive.
“I believe we found our identity,” he said. “We know who we are right now at this point. We’re not going to change. We’ve got to play hard defensively every night, get stops. Offensively, we have to move the ball. We have to get assists by committee. It was a blessing having Rondo, because he took the pressure off everybody. You didn’t have to make plays. Your shots were in rhythm. But now we have to do it as a group, and so each and every night it’s every man’s job to make sure he takes care of the ball and makes the right decision.”
Regardless of whether Terry has the hot hand on a given night, he’s embracing his position as a 35-year-old veteran mentor to backcourt newcomers Jordan Crawford and Terrence Williams.
“Part of my role on this team is to be a guy that can help the young guys along,” said Terry, “and show them the system, keep them upbeat, keep them positive and show them the ropes.”
And if their performance encroaches on his minutes, so be it, as long as the wins keep on coming.
“My first run-in with Jordan Crawford was in Atlanta up 10 when I was playing for Dallas, and he came in and hit three 3′s in a row,” said Terry. “And it was like, ‘Oh, who is this kid?’ I came to the bench, and they said, ‘That’s Jordan Crawford.’ I said, ‘Oh, OK.’ He reminds me a lot of myself. He can come in and make an impact quick. He’s a good athlete, but a deadly, deadly scorer.”
And Terry’s even more familiar with Williams, a fellow Seattle product. “I watched him grow up through middle school, high school, and he’s always been a phenomenal athlete,” he said. “When he went to Louisville, he became an all-around basketball player, and that’s why he’s in this league today.”
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