Jason Terry's past collides with his present tomorrow

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Jason Terry's past collides with his present tomorrow

BOSTON Jason Terry's journey from Dallas to Boston, and to where he is today, has gone through its share of stages.

First there was surprise that the Mavericks, the team he spent the bulk of his career with (including an NBA title run in 2011), didn't look to match the three-year, 15 million deal that the Celtics offered.

Then came the disappointment of that decision.

"The Mavs wanted to go in a different direction," Terry told CSNNE.com recently. "That's part of the business. You're not always going to like it, but it is what it is."

From there, Terry embraced the acceptance of his new team in a new city, with a new fan base that has welcomed him with open arms.

But in all this, Terry is human.

And no matter what he or any NBA player says, there's always a desire -- even if it's a slight one -- to seek revenge on a team that essentially didn't want you around any more.

Look at Kevin Garnett. He tends to play some of his best basketball against his former team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have yet to beat Garnett since he left.

So it's fair to say Terry has been looking forward to Wednesday night's game against his former team for quite a while -- like since the schedules came out this summer.

"I had a great time in Dallas, and I still have a lot of friends and people I care about there, both in the city and within the organization," Terry said recently. "But that's part of my past. My present is here with the Boston Celtics. And my mindset going into that game is the same as it is every game, to win. That's what it's all about."

Winning was something that became habitual with Terry during his eight seasons with the Mavericks.

They went to the playoffs in each of his eight seasons, advanced to the NBA Finals twice, and ultimately won the franchise's first NBA title in 2011.

Terry had a slew of memorable plays and moments during his time in Dallas, but few stick out more than the 2011 NBA Finals against Miami when he called out LeBron James prior to Game 4. At the time, the Mavericks trailed the series, two games to one.

"Let's see if James can defend me like that for seven games," Terry said at the time.

Dallas won Game 4 in large part because of Terry's 17 points off the bench, while James had just eight.

From there, the Mavericks went on to win the last two games and the series.

And while Terry's scoring was what stood out to many during Dallas' title run, his head coach at the time remembers Terry's contributions coming in so many other areas of the game, as well.

"I always considered him a terrific all-around player," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told CSNNE.com. "He can play every facet of the game. Our championship year, he played an all-around game. He scored, he made plays, he took care of the ball, he defended his matchup."

Carlisle, a former Celtic, added, "He is a very, very special guy to this organization. When you consider the fact that he was one of the best players on that team all those years, most of that period of time he not only accepted but embraced the role of coming off the bench and helping the team win. That made him even more special."

Carlisle understands how challenging it can be for a player to embrace coming off the bench when they have most likely spent the bulk of their high school, college and possibly pro career as a starter.

"I would sum it up in one word: Special," said Carlisle, a reserve guard on the Celtics' 1986 championship team. "There aren't a lot of guys in this league that would readily embrace that kind of challenge, and be willing to stay with it on a year-to-year basis. He not only did it, but he did it at the highest level."

Terry points to the fact that his comfort level coming off the bench dates back to his days at Arizona, when he was a reserve guard on the Wildcats' national championship team in 1997.

"Whatever role I'm given, I learned a while ago you do it to the best of your ability and good things will happen," said Terry, who years later went on to become Pac-10 Player of the Year and an eventual top-10 draft pick.

"For me, it's all about winning championships. That's why I'm here; to win a championship."