Dallas Mavericks’ Jason Terry has a very high opinion of Jason Terry. And his opinion of Jason Terry is higher than his opinion of LeBron James and the Miami Heat defense.
“Length and his strength, his ability to close out and still be in the area to contest the shot,” make him a very good defender. But Terry doesn’t seem to buy the notion that James’ has shut him down altogether.
“I’m welcoming the challenge,” he said. “We’re going to see if he can do it for seven games. That’s going to be the challenge. Right now, it’s Game 4. Can he do it again in Game 4? He wasn’t able to do it in Game 2. He did it in Games 1 and 3, so Game 4 is another opportunity.”
Welcome the challenge? You do understand you’re down 2-1 in the NBA Finals, right? You understand the team that gets to four wins actually gets the trophy, right?
Terry did not make a field goal during the fourth quarter of Game 3, but as he pointed out, “Well, I’m going to have to get more than four opportunities at the basket to be effective. That’s on me being aggressive, looking for more opportunities.”
So Terry’s playing the “I need to shoot more” card. A little shot at his teammates for not finding him enough, perhaps?
At the very least, Terry has to understand the Heat have protected the hoop with ferocity, meaning Dallas has to knock down jumpers to win a game. And that alone makes Miami a stifling defensive team.
“Portland, by far, has the best ‘D,” Terry said.
Well, Jason, since you brought it up. No, Portland did not have the best D. According to HoopData, Portland held your offensive efficiency (points scored per 100 possessions) to 110.5. Miami is holding you to 100.7. His effective FG% in the Finals is 44.3. Against Portland, it was 53.7. Miami is more consistently and more completely defending Terry and the Mavs than the Blazers did. Granted, one of Terry’s worst games of the playoffs came against Portland in Game four. But one game doesn’t make the Blazers a defensive juggernaut.
Of course, Terry doesn’t really believe what he’s saying. He’s just doing what he really does best (better than shooting): talk trash. If he can bait LeBron into a one-on-one matchup, then he can stop LeBron from roaming as much and maybe someone like Shawn Marion can get into the lane a little more easily. If Terry can catch LeBron’s ear and get him to say “Oh yeah, I’ll show you,” then maybe he can disrupt the stingy Heat defense just enough to open things up for his teammates to step up.
So Jason Terry is either crazy like a fox, or just plain ol’ crazy. It’s pretty obvious though that no matter what LeBron does to shut down Terry’s game, he can do nothing to shut Terry’s mouth.
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