Commentary

Slumping Terry plans to stay aggressive

Updated: December 25, 2009, 3:18 PM ET
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

DALLAS -- It'd be a happier holiday season for the Dallas Mavericks if a consistent scorer emerged to complement Dirk Nowitzki.

Maybe Jason Terry will find his jumper under the tree.

Jason Terry

Jet will be all right. I've never really worried about Jet since he's been here. He's going to stay aggressive and take shots.

-- Dirk Nowitzki on teammate Jason Terry

It's been missing most of the season, although Terry has had flashes here and there. His shooting percentages (.428 on field goals and .338 on 3-point shots) are by far the worst of his six-season stint in Dallas. He's averaging 16.4 points per game, a drop of more than three points from last season, when he earned the league's Sixth Man of the Year honor.

The last 10 games have been particularly tough for Terry. He's averaging 13.7 points on 33.3 percent shooting during that span, during which the Mavs are 6-4.

"Jet will be all right," Nowitzki said, moments after he expressed frustration about having to carry such a heavy offensive load. "I've never really worried about Jet since he's been here. He's going to stay aggressive and take shots."

That's exactly Terry's plan for breaking out of his extended slump.

He still has a scorer's swagger. For example, Terry had no regrets about his failed one-man fast break in the final minute of Tuesday night's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

With the Mavericks trailing by two, Terry grabbed a rebound with 14 seconds remaining, pushed the ball up the floor and launched a runner in traffic. The shot missed, as was the case with 11 of Terry's 13 attempts in the loss. Coach Rick Carlisle, noting that point guard Jason Kidd was flat on his back in pain on the other side of the court, would have preferred to call a timeout. But Terry figured he could score on Portland guard Steve Blake.

"I'm sprinting out of there trying to get an attack on the basket and get a good look," Terry said. "Aggressive play, didn't go our way. You feel bad, but at the same time, it's one game. Just go on to the next one."

Opposing defenses are keying on Terry a little more than last season, especially on the pick-and-roll, but he makes no excuses. He's still getting enough good looks to be an efficient scorer.

Terry has embraced Carlisle's challenge to be a better defender. In fact, Carlisle credits Terry for setting the tone for the Mavs' defensive improvement by committing to the concept.

Carlisle and Terry both dismissed a question about whether the increase in energy he's exerting on the defensive end could have a negative effect on his offensive game.

"I think he can do it," Carlisle said. "One of the reasons I say that is because when we're good defensively, we can get stops and we can force turnovers, and that gets him in transition when teams have a hard time keying on him."

The solution for Terry is simple. The only way he knows to break a slump is to shoot his way out of it.

"I'm going to stay confident," Terry said. "I'm going to continue to shoot, because that's what this team needs me to do."

Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.

ALSO SEE