Terry seems to be finding his spots
Terry put in 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the Celtics' 106-104 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, good for his fifth straight game in double-figure scoring -- his longest such stretch of the season.
Why is Boston's new-look offense working for him?
"Just because it's much more open," Terry said. "It's free-wheeling and the defense can't sit on particular plays. This league is great with scouting and they get used to you and they kind of know your tendencies. So in this offense it's very unpredictable. We don't know who's going to get the shot, but we know we're going to get a good one."
Movement -- of the ball and the players -- is a key factor in Boston's new scheme. While things occasionally got stagnant when Rondo was playing and certain sets broke down, the Celtics now have no choice but to move the ball if they want a decent shot at the basket. Without set plays with multiple options being run, there's more freedom for players to create their own openings, be it through floor spacing, pick-and-roll play or crisp ball movement.
"It's a lot of fun," Terry said. "Winning's fun, so we've just got to continue to do the things that we need to do to be successful every night. That's play defense, get out in transition, and spread the ball around."
Added Paul Pierce, "You've got a lot of guys who can knock down shots, drive the ball, slash to the basket -- Jason, Jeff Green, (Leandro) Barbosa. It's great. We put four smalls out there at times, one big, and we drive the ball. We set picks, make the extra passes and when you've got a combination of those guys who can knock down shots, especially from the 3-point line and drive the ball to the basket, it's such a hard thing to defend when you spread the court like that."
This is the Terry that Boston wanted when it signed him to a 3-year, $15.6 million deal last summer. The Celtics wanted the prolific scorer and former Sixth Man of the Year; the player capable of delivering instant offense and immediately turning the tide of a game. There were flashes of that player over the first half of the season, but not with any consistency. Some blamed Terry; others said Terry was being underutilized in Boston's offense.
But if there were any offensive restraints on Terry before, they've been removed, and he's relishing the increased responsibilities, both as a playmaker (he came through with a team-high six assists on Sunday) and a scorer. With just more than a minute left in the third quarter, Terry made the right play, passing up an open 3-pointer for an even more open 3-pointer from Green in the left corner. And late in the fourth quarter Terry scored at a pivotal moment -- burying a pull-up jump shot from the right elbow with the Celtics desperately clinging to a 3-point lead amid a spirited Clippers rally.
Over his last five outings, Terry has shot 55 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from 3-point nation -- steady signs that he's finding the comfortable offensive rhythm that he's sought all season.
It may have taken longer than the Celtics wanted, but it's finally looking like this JET has made it out of turbulent skies.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL analyst Herm Edwards covers Darrelle Revis' new deal, concerns with Josh McCown, the Jets' potential, whether a team would try to recruit Tony Gonzalez and more.
Play Podcast Keith Olbermann welcomes Jeff Pearlman to the show. Plus, more on the Patriots' signing of Darrelle Revis and Kobe Bryant's comments about the Lakers' management.
Play Podcast Buster Olney chats with Mark Bowman about the Braves' deal with Ervin Santana. Plus, Jayson Stark on issues with replay, Keith Olbermann's comments on Barry Bonds and more.
Play Podcast Grantland's Bill Simmons discusses the state of the Lakers, Phil Jackson's future, the perception of Rajon Rondo, Doc Rivers' impact on the Clippers and more.
Play Podcast Red Sox manager John Farrell talks about whether he expected his team to make such a turnaround in one season, his relationship with his players, fans' expectations for the squad and more.