Heat vs. Mavs: Why Jason Terry Will Be the X-Factor in Potential Finals Rematch

Michael KeefeContributor IIIMarch 28, 2012

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  Jason Terry #31 of the Dallas Mavericks gestures on court after making a three-point shot in the second quarter while taking on the Miami Heat in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks currently sit comfortably in the middle of the playoff pack in the Western Conference of the NBA.

In the other conference, the Miami Heat are sitting in a very familiar position—just behind the Chicago Bulls as the playoffs loom.

With both Finals teams from 2011 back in the playoffs, there’s a (pretty good) chance that we could see a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals.

And if the Mavericks are going to repeat as champions, they will need to rely on veteran swingman Jason Terry to get them past the Heat.

Terry is the quintessential change of pace guy for the Mavericks.

When a team goes up against Dallas, they know what they’re going to get with Dirk Nowitzki. They need to plan on stopping the rest of the team.

Stopping Jason Terry has proven to be much easier said than done.

Terry has been a beast, mainly as a bench player for the Mavericks.

He brings an element of quickness and fearlessness that the rest of the team lacks, and he stretches the floor and manages to facilitate the offense, even though he is a scorer.

While not the strongest player on the court, Terry is a pest on defense. His fearlessness carries over to that end of the court, where he will play right up on his assignment and try to force a turnover.

Terry truly is the bulldog of the Mavericks.

So if the rematch happens, and the Mavs and Heat wind up facing off again in the Finals, it will be Jason Terry who is the main reason the Mavericks will repeat.

For that to be the case, the Mavericks will need every bit of skill Jason Terry has.

The Heat are in the midst of another year in the league together, and they’re playing with a cohesiveness that they didn’t really have last year.

Terry will need to be spot on his game. He’s currently shooting under 40% from outside the three-point line this season, which is normal for him.

That will have to change in the Finals.

Terry will need to shoot over 40% from three, while using his athleticism to get to the hoop and make passes to the big men underneath.

Terry will have to take on the task of manning up Dwyane Wade, Lebron James or any of the other talented guards for Miami.

This is where he really stood out in last year’s finals.

His offensive explosions weren’t really a surprise to anyone who gets to see him play regularly. However, his defensive efforts against the Heat last year were phenomenal.

That’s not to say that he locked down James or Wade, but he certainly made their lives difficult.

Terry should consider himself a pest to opponents. He should embrace that role and really do everything he can to bother them.

If Terry can take on that role, while really stepping up his offensive game, the Mavericks will run through the west and take another series from Miami.