Celtics’ Terry back in Dallas for reunion, loss

Jason Terry smiled for the cameras in Dallas again Friday,

branded ”Mavericks royalty” by his old coach before enjoying a

reunion with the franchise he helped win its first NBA title.

Terry was in town with his new team, the Boston Celtics, and the

first order of business was wiping out a bad night in New Orleans

and ending a two-game skid. That didn’t happen, with the slide

reaching three games in a 104-94 loss in which he was held to eight

points on 3-of-9 shooting.

The significance of the moment wasn’t lost on him, but the loss

took away some enjoyment.

”It was nothing out of the ordinary. It was a good feeling,”

Terry said after the game. ”But again, I was solely locked in on

the game. It was good to see everyone. But I’m a Celtic now.”

The veteran shooting guard spent eight seasons with the

Mavericks, endearing himself to the home crowd through civic

involvement and the ”Jet” nickname he fostered through his

signature celebration of big 3-pointers – running down the court

with his arms spread like wings.

”I’m very comfortable here and so I can imagine the first

shot’s definitely going to be a 3,” said Terry, who showed up

wearing his championship ring a couple of hours before the game.

”I’m just excited.”

Well, Terry told a little lie there. He actually drove for a

layup, got fouled and made both free throws shortly after entering

the game late in the first quarter. Wearing a green headband and

No. 4 instead of a white one with No. 31, Terry missed his first

3-point attempt early in the second.

Terry got a loud standing ovation when he was introduced, but

the game wasn’t stopped and fans quickly found themselves cheering

a 3-pointer by Vince Carter instead.

”A lot of smiles,” Terry said of what he was expecting.

”Seeing a lot of the courtside season-ticket holders, all of the

people that I spent a lot of time with, seeing them.”

The 35-year-old Terry is no longer with Dallas because the

Mavericks decided to get younger in the backcourt while building

salary cap space for a big move in free agency. They struck out on

point guard Deron Williams last summer and figure to go after

center Dwight Howard this offseason.

Meantime, Dallas has jeopardized a 12-year playoff streak by

going with a roster overloaded with one-year contracts for a second

straight season since beating Miami in the 2011 finals. The

Mavericks (32-36) started Friday 3 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles

Lakers for the final Western Conference playoff spot with just 14

games remaining.

”It’s tough because I still am a Mav fan at heart,” said

Terry, who signed a three-year deal with the Celtics and has seen a

dip in his scoring average while his 3-point percentage hovers

around his career mark. ”But again, when you break up a team,

that’s what happens.”

The Mavericks are preoccupied with their precarious playoff

situation, but Terry’s former coach, Rick Carlisle, and few

remaining teammates were looking forward to seeing him. They were

also unanimous in their belief that the reception would be

rousing.

”He was a great ambassador for the city,” Dirk Nowitzki said.

”Always busy in the community every day and on the court we all

know what he meant for us. The best clutch shooter I’ve played

with. And obviously he was a big reason why we won the championship

a couple of years ago.”

Nowitzki had his first reunion with Terry in December in Boston.

Nowitzki was still sidelined while recovering from knee surgery, so

he was relegated to talking ”a little bit of trash from the

bench” during the Mavericks’ loss in double overtime.

”I think it would have to be tough tonight for him because he

loved it here,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said. ”He loved Rick,

loved (owner Mark Cuban), loved the fans here. Just having him for

the little time we’ve had him, you can understand why people like

him. He brings sunshine every day to your basketball team.”

Dallas forward Shawn Marion goes way back to his college days

with Terry, when they worked Michael Jordan camps together. And

Carlisle had a closer player-coach relationship than one might

expect because their daughters attended the same school.

”He is one of the most beloved players I think in the history

of the franchise because of his personality, his relationship with

the fans and he was a great player and he was a prime-time great

player in the clutch,” Carlisle said. ”Guys like that always

distinguish themselves.

”He’s Mavericks royalty.”