DALLAS — When Jason Terry walked past the Thunder bench to the baseline and threw up four fingers on both hands to the crowd at American Airlines Center he was continuing his “Mr. Fourth Quarter” ritual.
The Mavericks could have used a contribution from Terry at any time before that in their Game 2 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference finals. But Terry didn’t deliver on his promise to show up at winning time. In fact, he struggled through his worst game of this postseason (a playoff-low eight points on 3-for-9 shooting).
What makes it even tougher for Terry to swallow is that the Thunder reserves, James Harden in particular, excelled by attacking Terry throughout the game. Even with their small lineup on the floor for all but a few seconds in the fourth quarter, Terry was unable to get going, as Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com explains:
“We’ve got to punish that lineup,” Terry said. “It’s good it happened like this. We’ll make our adjustments and bounce back.”
If Terry’s game log from this postseason is any indication, he will certainly bounce back. He’s managed to come back strong after other disappointing efforts.
After back-to-back 10-point games to start these playoffs, Terry has been the Mavericks’ most consistent offensive threat outside of Dirk Nowitzki. Of course, Terry will have to play much more aggressively on both ends of the floor, especially on the offensive end.
“Nine [shot] attempts,” Terry said. “I don’t call that a very aggressive game on my part.”
The Mavericks will not only need to see a more aggressive Terry, who scored 24 points off the bench in the Game 1 win, but also more aggressive attitude from J.J. Barea (11 points) and Peja Stojakovic (eight points) if they plan on returning the favor and stealing a game in Oklahoma City this weekend.