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
”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
”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
”He’s Mavericks royalty.”