love like understand come to terms with Jet Terry
“Let’s see if he can defend me like that for seven games.”
The pronoun “he” was referring to Lebron James, possibly the best perimeter defender in the league and a guy with a good five inches and 30 pounds on Terry. Normally I would have fallen out of my chair at this proclamation, but I, like most Mavs fans, have become accustomed to Jason Terry’s bombast.
I remember thinking something along the lines of, “this series is going seven games?”
Terry sucked through the first three games. He sucked. He couldn’t buy a bucket. He was coming up lame in the fourth quarter and he was doing a terrible imitation of playing Robin to Dirk’s Batman. Dirk even took to calling him out. We were going down in this series if Terry didn’t get his act together.
Of course, he did. Terry came alive after his bold claim and proved me right.
The series did not go seven games, but it was the Mavs, not the Heat, who closed it out in six.
Jason Terry can shoot you in and out of games. His defense stinks and his assist numbers can be paltry. But he has been essential to the Dallas Mavericks since they traded for him in 2004. And it was no more apparent than throughout the 2011 playoffs and in the NBA Finals.
The finals series was a microcosm of the entire Dallas Mavericks career of one Jason “The Jet” Terry.
I think its common for any fan to have that one player who serves as the receptacle for all his or her rage. Oftentimes it’s the star player. Living in New York, I see Carmelo Anthony getting taken to task for all the Knicks failures. Certainly Mark Sanchez is the whipping boy of all Jets fans. Before being traded this offseason, pitcher A.J. Burnett seemed to draw the most wrath from Yankees fans.
This is just the way it goes.
I don’t give an inch to Jason Terry. Not one inch. This has been the case almost from day one when we acquired Terry in a trade from the Atlanta Hawks.
I tend to disregard his hot-shooting nights when he drops 30-plus on the opposition while actively deriding his 3-12 performances where he totals seven points and one assist.
I moan constantly about his matador style defense (leading the ball carrier right through the lane to the hoop). Constantly. I grow suspicious that he might be “saving himself” for the offensive end. I joke with my friends that I tagged 30 on Terry just last week at the Dodge YMCA in Brooklyn.
I call him Terry Terry sometimes when I’m really angry, doubling up his last name to emphasize his finesse style.
I ball up my fists in fury and berate the TV with every turnover, bad pass or dumb foul.
It’s what I do. Jet Terry is the receptacle.
And yet, we wouldn’t win the NBA Finals without The Jet’s proclamation. Not his suddenly inspired play, mind you, but his proclamation itself.
Perhaps Terry’s greatest attribute is his stubborn willfulness and his unrivaled ego. Like any good shooter – and Terry is good at shooting – he can shoot from anywhere: top of the key, the corners, the elbows with “range extending out to the three-point line.” But like any good shooter Terry seems to shrug off any missed shot with the belief that the next one will go down… and the next one… and the next one… and, you get my point. His shooting performance in Game Four against the Lakers in last year’s playoffs was a perfect example.
However, it is this attitude that helps the Mavericks the most. He is in your face when others are timid. He struts and preens when others are happy to just get back on defense. He demands the ball when others cower and he needles the opposition when others are afraid to poke the bear.
Truth is, as shocking as it turned out to be, LeBron James could not keep up with Jason Terry for seven games. Hell, he couldn’t do it for six.
So a heartfelt thanks to Jason Terry. A heartfelt thanks, but sadly, I still give him no inch.
Because as soon as the lockout shortened 2012 season got under way, well then so did I. I continued with my fire-breathing, chest-beating, scream-shattering ways.
I guess that’s what an NBA title gets you.
Sorry, Jet, I’ll try to do better.
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