Dirk Nowitzki: Jason Terry Hasn’t Been ‘Clutch’ in NBA Finals

by June 07, 2011
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by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

Jason Terry has made headlines through the championship round’s first three games for all the wrong reasons.

There’s the ridiculous tattoo; Terry got mad at Miami’s on-court celebrations despite his own nightly antics; LeBron James’ defense has turned the Mavs’ number two option on the offensive end into a virtual non-factor; and now teammate Dirk Nowitzki is calling him out prior to an absolute must-win Game 4.

Truthfully, Dirk needs better support from the entire cast, but he had pointed words specifically for Jason Terry, admitting that the shooting guard has come up short so far on the biggest of stages.

The Star-Telegram reports:

After averaging 93.3 points in the first round against Portland, 102.3 points in the second round against the Los Angeles Lakers, and 105.2 points in the third round against Oklahoma City, the Mavericks are only averaging 88.1 points in the first three games against Miami. The heat is on Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, J.J. Barea, Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd to find a way to be other viable scoring options. The obvious No. 1 option is Terry, who is averaging 14.3 points and is hitting 38.2 percent of his shots in this series.

“We have to find a way to get Jet some freedom and get him off some movement, and he’s got to make some shots for us,” said Nowitzki, who is also averaging 10 rebounds against the Heat. “He’s a big reason why we’re here, because he’s one of the great fourth-quarter players we have in this league, but they’ve been able to really take that away … Jet hasn’t really been a crunch-time, clutch player for us the way we need him to.”

Jason Terry acknowledges that he has to play a whole lot better the rest of the way, and feels confident that LeBron won’t continue to defend him as well as he has so far late in games:

“They know to take me out of the fourth quarter, which they didn’t do in Game 2,” Terry said of the Heat’s choice to turn to James defensively, “then they got a good chance.” Added Terry: “Let’s see if [James] can defend me like that for seven games … I had two opportunities,” Terry said. “One in the corner for 3, LeBron closed out. The other one in the right corner, LeBron closed out again, didn’t get enough air under it. Hey, it happens. If I get those same shots in Game 4, I bet I make them.”

Jason Terry has said plenty so far in these NBA Finals. Beginning tonight with Game 4, he needs to start backing it up, or else the Dallas Mavericks’ summer vacation will start much earlier than they’d hoped.