Terry set to get rest leading up to playoffs

Terry set to get rest leading up to playoffs
April 15, 2013, 1:30 pm
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WALTHAM, Mass. — Jason Terry had no problem with Celtics head coach Doc Rivers giving him the night off in Boston's blowout win at Orlando on Saturday. He's cool with being shut down for Tuesday's game against Indiana and possibly the season finale at Toronto as well.

That's because those games stand in between the one thing Terry has cared most about all season: the playoffs.

And while there's a certain degree of added pressure most players feel heading into the postseason, few are under the gun as much as Terry. He has been vocal -- some would say too vocal -- about his play as well as the Celtics' ability to be an elite team even as both he and the C's delivered one underwhelming performance after another.

So for Terry, the postseason more than anything else, is about finally playing up to standards he has set for himself and his Green-clad band of brothers.

"I got a lot to prove, as does our team," Terry said. "We didn't finish up particularly well."

With two regular season games remaining, the Celtics are 3-4 in the month of April. March Madness was more like March Sadness for the C's who began the month with four wins but could only tally four more to finish March with a pedestrian 8-8 record.

Still, Terry's confidence has remained remarkably high even as his play -- even by his own admission -- wasn't up to his own personal standards.

Terry has appeared in 79 games this season (24 starts) and has averaged 10.1 points while playing 26.9 minutes per game. His scoring and minutes played averages are the lowest since he was a rookie in 2000 with the Atlanta Hawks.

But Terry's stats during the regular season were expected to take a dip this year, a likely result when a role player changes teams and finds himself in a somewhat different role than the one he had in Dallas.

With the Mavericks, Terry spent more time off the ball than he has in Boston. And while Terry has played the point guard at times extensively in his career -- he left Atlanta ranked among the top-10 leaders in assists, a group headed by Rivers -- that's not his true position.

Celtics Nation has reason to be concerned that the 35-year-old isn't quite what the C's thought they were getting when they inked him to a three-year-deal this past summer.

J.J. Barea, a former teammate of Terry's in Dallas who now plays for Minnesota, says that C's fans need not worry about whether Terry will get it going in the playoffs.

"He loves, love the playoffs," Barea told CSNNE.com. "You need players like J.T. in the playoffs. He'll be ready. He'll be ready."

Which is why if Terry misses this final week of the regular season, it might be the best thing for both him and the Celtics.

Rivers said that part of the reason for resting his veteran guard was because Terry was having some soreness in his legs.

"We want to make sure he has no issues going into the playoffs," Rivers said. "If he tells me he needs the game on Wednesday (against Toronto) just to play a game, then we'll play him. Other than that, I don't think we'll play him."

So Terry will go into the playoffs with plenty of rest, and plenty of incentive and motivation to play well. But the usual chatter will be toned down so don't look for him to make any declarations about the Knicks that are similar to ones he has made about other teams and players, like him calling the Orlando Magic a "terrible" team before the Celtics blasted them 120-88 over the weekend.

"I told you how I felt about those guys," Terry said of the Magic.

As far as bulletin board material for New York, Terry said he'll take a pass on that.

But he adds that he is, "just eager and anxious to get out there. The playoffs are a new season. I'm ready to get my new season started."