DALLAS -- Jason Terry entered this season vowing to reclaim the Sixth Man of the Year Award that Jamal Crawford took away last season. After a sizzling February so far, Terry thinks he's positioned himself in front.
"I put a stranglehold back on that Sixth Man title," Terry said after Monday's practice, "and hopefully pretty soon people will start talking about how [I'm] the best sixth man in the business again. Look what I've been able to do in the month of February. Pretty consistent."
Terry, along with J.J. Barea, have led a huge charge by the Mavericks' bench. Terry is averaging 18.1 points on 47.4 percent shooting (45-of-95) in February. He's hit 10-of-26 (38.4 percent) from 3-point range, although a big 6-of-8 night against the Denver Nuggets helped bolster that number.
But there's no denying that Terry has stepped up his scoring, tallying 20 points or more in four of the last five games. As a result, the Mavs' bench is crushing their opponents. The bench, which leads the league in point-differential, scored 72 points at Denver, a league high this season.
"As a whole, our bench, we're not getting talked about a lot," Terry said. "But pretty soon, people will start noticing. We're second to none. We're the best bench in basketball. You look at what J.J.'s been able to do with his penetration, the impact that Trix [Shawn Marion] makes on both ends of the floor and then my ability to score baskets at will off the bench, I don't see any other team doing that."
Terry kept the comments coming regarding Barea's impact, whose scoring has nearly doubled since Jan. 1.
"After we get to the [NBA] Finals this year and win it all," Terry said of Barea, "then they'll realize what all he means to this team."
Jeff Caplan covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.