Bucks’ success is old hat as Pelicans pay visit

MILWAUKEE — He’s 40 years old, but Jason Terry isn’t slowing down any time soon.

The Milwaukee Bucks veteran swingman had his best game of the season Thursday night, scoring 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting — all 3-pointers — as the Bucks beat the Raptors in overtime.

Now, with New Orleans coming to town Sunday for a matinee at the Bradley Center, Terry will try to build on that effort while his team tries to continue its climb up the Eastern Conference standings.

Terry’s playing time has been sporadic this season but when he is on the court, he finds ways to make a difference. That was the case in Toronto, when he took over for struggling starter Tony Snell in a tight game.

Milwaukee (33-25) once led by 12 but the Raptors cut it to four early in the fourth before Terry stole the ball from CJ Miles, opened up on the break and drained a step-back 3-pointer.

He added five more in the overtime period, including a 3-pointer that boosted his season shooting average from distance to 39.5 percent on the season, second only to Snell among players appearing in 20 or more games.

“Oh yeah, that’s impressive,” Giannis Antetokounmpo said. “Not only can he impact the game offensively, but he can impact the game defensively. That’s the crazy thing. And he’s 40 years old. 40? 41?”

Terry plays an important role on the court but despite his age, his personality fits right in with the 20-somethings being counted on to lead the franchise back from decades of mediocrity. And as the elder statesman in Milwaukee’s locker room, his voice is an important one.

And, if they’ll have him, he’d like to come back again next season, too.

“For sure, 100 percent, my goal is to play 20 seasons,” Terry said. “The organization understands that and I think the league is on notice.”

First, though, Terry and the Bucks will need to get past the Pelicans (32-26), who extended their winning streak to four games with a 124-123 overtime thriller over Miami on Friday night.

Anthony Davis scored 45 points in the contest and grabbed 17 rebounds with five steals and five blocks, becoming the first player to tally a line like that since the NBA started recording blocks and steals during the 1973-74 season.

It’s no coincidence that during the Pelicans’ winning streak, Davis is averaging 42.3 points and 14.8 rebounds and has scored at least 38 points in six of 10 games since DeMarcus Counsins went down with an injury.

“I’m just trying to do my part,” Davis said. “When (Cousins) first went out, I was overthinking. I was trying to do stuff I normally wouldn’t do. I’m just playing basketball, playing with a lot of instincts. … (I’m) just trying to make the right play, whether it’s for me or my teammates.”

The Pelicans have a slim lead over the Clippers for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot, but sit only two games out of a potential No. 3 seed.

“We are figuring it out,” Ian Clark said after the Miami victory. “I think we definitely needed a game like this.”

The Bucks have won 10 of their last 13 games and come into the contest holding the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the Wizards and Pacers, who hold the fourth and fifth spots, respectively, and only two games back of the Cavaliers, who sit third in the East.

Milwaukee will try to go nine games above .500 for the first time since finishing the 2009-10 campaign at 46-36.