That fire and determination paid huge dividends on Sunday in a 97-90 overtime, season-saving win at TD Garden. Terry drained the go-ahead three with 1:32 left in overtime, as he scored the final nine points of Game 4.
Was it the elbow that Smith threw that got him fired up?
‘He was definitely vocal,” Rivers said. “Someone said it [Saturday]; maybe that elbow ‘ who knows? [Terry] said it changed the events for all of us. Definitely Jason Terry was angry that it happened. He let his teammates know yesterday and today. But he’s just a fighter. I’ve told you that before. You know, I didn’t know him until this year and I said it the other day: he’s just one of those guys you want around your team, whether he’s playing or not. He brings sunshine. There’s guys ‘ I would say probably most of you guys, you bring those dark clouds every time I see you ‘ a couple of you don’t. But the sunshine-bringers, that’s who you want. And Jason Terry is one of those guys.’
Terry scored 18 points in 41 minutes off the Boston bench, both playoff highs so far.
‘He was great,” Rivers said. “You know, that’s what he does. He’s made so many big shots in his career; you knew in transition’¦It’s amazing, you know, you guys don’t get to see it but when you watch all the guys, and not just Jason Terry, but when you watch them practice on the floor on their own, they work on certain shots. And that’s the shot, that transition three is something he works on all the time. And you knew once he got it what he was going to do. I thought it was interesting when you watch the play, I thought Jason Kidd  knew it too. Because you could see him coming from the basket, from them playing with each other. So it was a big shot. And the other shot he made was big as well. So, that’s what he does. That’s good.’
Rivers said the go-ahead three wasn’t the only huge shot Terry made in his 9-0 run.
‘Yeah, yeah, but the five were big,” Rivers said. “The three, and the two off the pick, those were huge. I’ll take all of them, but the five, they were huge.’
Here is the rest of Doc Rivers’ postgame press conference from Sunday.
On Brandon Bass : ‘Brandon was ‘ he was the star of the game, as far as I’m concerned. He just defended, and did it over and over and over again. There’s a lot of guys that you want to defend; I don’t know if Carmelo (Anthony) would be the one you would pick. And for Brandon to do that, basically the entire game until he fouled out was terrific for us. We needed that one guy to be able to do that. I tell you, the third quarter for us, with the fouls, it was hard. I mean, we were shuffling guys in and out and just trying to move different guys. It was a hard quarter for us, and we got through it.’
On Jeff Green, especially having to cover Anthony while in foul trouble: ‘It’s funny, Brandon gets in foul trouble, Jeff has to guard him, we had the one timeout at the end of the game when you knew they were going to go to Carmelo. Jeff and Paul both have five fouls. And you’re thinking, ‘Who do you want to sacrifice?’ almost, that’s how you felt, because he’s such a foul-magnet; he’s really good at drawing fouls. But I thought Paul, I thought they all did, took their share, and Jeff was great as well.’
On Terry’s drawing the loose-ball foul with position on Steve Novak: ‘It was large. I mean, Jason Terry throughout basically overtime and right before was terrific. Made play after play after play. I think that was the only time we blocked out the entire game going by the numbers, so that was terrific. And again, they made us pay every single time; they got an offensive rebound, they made us pay for it. That’s how it felt for us. We still have to avert ‘ get away ‘ from the one bad quarter. It just seems like in all three games, four games, we’ve had that one bad quarter, and the third quarter was it tonight.’
On how much J.R. Smith’s absence affected the game: ‘I don’t know. It probably had to have something to do with it. (Raymond) Felton  was pretty good, though. He took the role of J.R. Smith and did a pretty good job of it tonight. And (Iman) Shumpert made shots tonight for them as well. I don’t know; you just don’t know what the impact was, but guarding one less guy can’t hurt.’
On another overtime effort for Pierce and Garnett: ‘Yeah, when you look at the minutes and you see 48 minutes, 49 minutes from Jeff Green and Paul, I guess in a crazy way because it went in the overtime, Kevin’s foul trouble paid off, because he still only played 36 minutes. And so he had a lot of rest; I guess you could say that. But he still had a lot of minutes in a row, which we try to avoid with him. He was great, though, every time I looked at him he just kept saying, ‘No, no, no,’ meaning, ‘Don’t take me out. I’m just going ‘ I’m going to keep going; I’m going to get through this. He was terrific.’
Knowing Jason Terry was going to come through in the playoffs: ‘Well, I don’t know it, but I hope it. And I think it. You never know if Jason Terry has a good game or a bad game by the way he works in practice, especially I’m talking on his own after practice. Everyone does the required work, because I blow the whistle and they have to. But they great ones do the un-required work, and that’s before practice and after practice. They work on their craft, they work on what they do. Jason Terry may be him, Ray (Allen ), Kevin (Garnett ), I mean they all do the same thing. There’s no coincidence to me why they make big shots and why they do what the do because they take it very seriously, and they prepare for those moments. And I thought that was a great example tonight, with Jason Terry.’
On what Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett said in huddle when Knicks cut lead to three; did he hear them say they’re not done yet: ‘No, I did not. But I didn’t think they thought one way or the other. I was just trying to tell them we had a three point lead, and let’s keep playing. Let’s play through the game. They made some unbelievable shots, and we were fighting with foul trouble. So a lot of adversity in that quarter and down the stretch. They’re very proud of a lot of our guys. Jeff, we went over their pressure at halftime, and I went on the board and told them, ‘Guys, they’re going to turn up the pressure; they know who our ball-handling is. And I don’t know the one time I got on Jeff pretty hard in a time-out because he was the guy that we wanted to beat the pressure with and then when we came out, he got the layup. That’s what we have to do. I’ve never had our four at times be our ball handler, but I mean, that’s who we are right now. And Jeff can do that for us.’