Celtics guard Jason Terry has been keeping a diary for ESPNBoston.com this season. In his final regular-season entry, he looks at potential playoff opponents, talks about the LeBron dunk and facing the Heat, and explains what Celtics basketball is all about. (as told to Louise K. Cornetta)
Unfortunately we lost to Cleveland on Friday night. I didn't even see the play where Avery Bradley] bruised his collarbone. But he said he is all right, which is good because we can't afford for anyone else to go out at this point of the season. We haven't had a full lineup out on the court in a while now. We've been fortunate enough to have several games at home with a lot of practice time. We are using shootarounds as great practice. Right now it's all about being healthy.
Jeff Green has been someone who has really stepped up with all these injuries happening. He's been very aggressive and assertive. He is playing with a lot more confidence than earlier in the season, which was to be expected. We are going to need him. I'd say he is the X factor. How he goes is probably how we're going to end up going in these playoffs.
Most likely KG [Kevin Garnett] and Paul [Pierce] return on Sunday. We'd been without KG for the previous eight games. With him returning, we would get our leader back. We get a presence in the paint, which we've been lacking. We're just small out there otherwise. Getting him back means we will be able to man and patrol the paint a lot better.
We did clinch a playoff spot on Wednesday and if you are wondering if that is something we celebrated, no, not at all. Everyone in this locker room and our fans expected us to be there. There was no doubt in my mind that we would make the playoffs. Now, it's about where we're seeded. We want to finish strong and hopefully we will end up with a good seed.
But I'd say it's looking pretty likely our playoff opponent in Round 1 will be Indiana or New York. With the Pacers, I think we match up well. I think we pose a lot of problems for teams with our versatility and our multiple lineups that we can play. At the end of the day, regardless of who we play, we must play Celtics basketball. What I mean by that is defend like crazy for 48 minutes and then offensively move the ball, spread it around and be unpredictable.
New York is a similar approach but what they have is a different beast. They have a guy in Carmelo Anthony who can go for 40 or 50 points and win a series by himself. I've enjoyed the rivalry with the Knicks this season. It's special for me just because Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler are over there. They are two guys I won a championship with.
Before we get to the playoffs, we have one more trip to Miami to play the Heat again. Anytime we face them, it's always special. For me, it's personal. Regardless of what the situation is, we could be playing a pickup game and if any of their players are over there then it's going to be intense. I look forward to it.
As for LeBron [James], I wouldn't say there has been a lot of back and forth between us. It's really, I said what I believe, which is that he can't guard me. I'm not quite sure what he said but I heard it's that I like to talk. I would say no question I do and I'm going to continue to talk, but I also back it up with my play. I got the ring and went through his team to get it in the 2011 playoffs. Winning that ring is very special and something I'll never forget. Hopefully I will have another opportunity this year.
The dunk he had on me in March, well, it' s a dunk and he's had plenty of those highlight-type dunks. To explain things, it's not like I stood there, it was unexpected. I mean, I was in a hustle type mode and chasing down the ball. Sometimes bad things happen when you chase down the ball.
Social media is amazing. I wish they would have had that when I first started playing. I guess I'm getting old because if Twitter had been big back when I dunked on Shaq in the Finals then it probably would have been a similar thing. So I'll take that one on the chin. Great play by LeBron, but I definitely look forward to seeing him again.
I want us to end the last week and a-half of the season on a confident note and healthy. We want to end it winning because winning is contagious. One game at a time once the playoffs starts. The key ingredient to us doing well in the playoffs is, I'll say it again, play great Celtics defense for 48 minutes and then offensively execute. We need to put a premium on executing from the first quarter to the fourth quarter. If we can do that and take care of the ball, then we are going to be in a position to win every single game we play.
I don't know about your bracket, but mine is doing great. I'm in the championship. I may be new here but winning brackets is old hat for me. I'm up against Jordan Crawford. He has Michigan.
I like this time of year in Boston. We have Red Sox starting and the Bruins and we are about to start the playoffs. I watched the Red Sox opening series against the Yanks. They are playing well right now. Surprisingly everyone has them picked to be in the bottom of the East but they're coming out shocking people. The Bruins just acquired a great player in Jaromir Jagr coming from Dallas. I like what they're doing.
Jagr came in a deal with Dallas and I want to mention that going back to Dallas last month was really special for me. Seeing all my friends and family that still reside in Dallas and then seeing all the people I became accustomed to seeing throughout my years there, like season-ticket holders and security guards, I loved seeing everyone. I really appreciated the standing ovation I got when I checked into the game. That meant something to me and was really great, definitely a moment I will remember.