Terry taking off in new offensive system


Terry taking off in new offensive system

BOSTON -- The jet had been on the runway, but it wasn't going anywhere.

Jason Terry had been struggling since joining the Boston Celtics last summer. The former Sixth Man of the Year had made a name for himself as one of the league's best sharpshooters off the bench and looked to bolster the C's second unit this season.

Instead, Terry (nicknamed JET) battled with consistency and missed his mark on several occasions, raising question when -- and if -- he would hit his stride in the Celtics system.

The 14-year veteran has averaged 15.9 points per game over his career, including 44.7 percent from the field (5.8-for-13.1 FG per game). He opened this season shooting 52.1 percent from the field in November, but dropped in December to 37.4 percent. His stats increased in January to 41.2 percent, although his shot averages fell to 2.7-for-6.5 attempts per game.

He struggled with his long-range shooting, as well, averaging just one trey per game last month.

A new Terry has emerged in the past week, though. Following the season-ending injury of Rajon Rondo (ACL), Terry has stepped up offensively and began to find his rhythm. In the last three games, he is shooting 14-for-22 from the field (63.6 FG) and 5-for-11 from three-point range (45.5 3PG), averaging 12.3 points. The absence of their point guard has led to more players handling the ball, and therefore a new variety of looks on offense.

"(The new style of offense) is much more open, it's free-willing," Terry said following the Celtics 106-104 win over the Clippers on Sunday. "The defense can't sit on particular plays. This league is great with scouting and they get used to you, they kind of know your tendencies. But in this offense, it's very unpredictable. You don't know who's going to get a shot, but we know we're going to get a good one."

Terry did get a good one on Sunday, draining a fadeaway jumper with 1:09 to go that pushed the Celtics lead up to five points and helped fend of the Clippers late-game surge.

"It's a lot of fun," said Terry. "Winning's fun. So we've just got to continue to do the things we need to do to be successful every night. That's play defense, get out in transition, and spread the ball around."

After spending most of the season stuck on the tarmac, the JET is ready to take off the runway.

Horford's all-around play key in first regular season game with Celtics

Horford's all-around play key in first regular season game with Celtics

BOSTON – The Al Horford love fest continues with the veteran big man delivering yet another impressive performance for the Boston Celtics.

And this one?

Unlike his play in the preseason, Wednesday night's game counts.

Horford’s all-around play was pivotal to Boston holding on for a 122-117 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

CELTICS 122, NETS 117:

The four-time All-Star made several high-basketball IQ-type plays that in hindsight, were major key moments in Boston pushing its lead to as many as 23 points.

In the third quarter with Boston ahead 71-65, Horford took advantage of Brooklyn closing out too hard on him and drove into the lane. As the Nets defenders collapsed to take away a shot attempt in the lane, Horford swung the ball to Jae Crowder whose jumper triggered a 14-5 run.

Boston would lead by double figures until the last couple of minutes of the game.

“We have to keep playing the right way, for 48 minutes,” Horford said when asked about the team’s late-game collapse.

The late-game struggles aside, there was a lot to like about how the Celtics played throughout the first 40 minutes.

And a big part of that strong play has to be credited to Horford whose ability to help keep the ball moving allowed the Celtics to finish with 36 assists on 48 made field goals, the kind of opening night assist numbers that haven’t been seen around these parts in decades.

Horford was among those getting into the act, scoring 11 points to go with five rebounds and six assists.

To see him racking up guard-like assist numbers isn’t unusual when you consider he was third in the league last season in assists per game (3.2) for a center.

“Guys were moving the ball very well,” Horford said. “It’s kind of contagious.”

Said Crowder: “I never saw coaches clap on a three-second call. We moved the ball in the first quarter so much we got a three-second call. We passed up a lot of open shots. It just shows how unselfish we are playing as a unit.”

And while that selfless brand of basketball was on display at times last season, the addition of Horford seems to have taken it to another level.

“He opens the floor, he makes it easier for everybody; he’s always in the right spots, he’s a threat at all times,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. “He can hit the 3, hit the mid-range, and also post up so he has the full package; a guy that makes it easy for everybody.”