Terry's big shots in OT save C's season

Terry's big shots in OT save C's season
April 28, 2013, 8:00 pm
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BOSTON -- Jason Terry couldn't imagine his season ending on April 28. It was too early. April? No, that didn't sit well with him. He had inked a Celtics championship tattoo on his arm with the intention of playing deep into the postseason.

Facing an 0-3 deficit in the first round of the playoffs to the New York Knicks, Terry channeled another clutch performance like he has exhibited so many times over the years to help propel the Celtics to a 97-90 overtime win in Game 4.

"I’m going to coach AAU, but I don’t want to do that right now," he joked following the win.

Terry played nearly 41 minutes, and it is what he did in the final five that helped save his team from elimination. Once overtime arrived, JET (Terry's nickname) was ready for takeoff.

"He was great," Doc Rivers said. "That's what he does. He's made so many big shots in his career."

Terry shot a perfect 3-for-3 in OT, including a trey to give the Celtics a 91-88 lead, one which they did not surrender. He drew a foul on Steve Novak with 20.4 seconds left, iced a pair of free throws, and closed out the game with a fastbreak layup. Terry finished the game with 18 points (7-10 FG, 1-4 threes, 3-3 FT) and four assists.

"JET has proved to be a big time performer in big stage situations," said Paul Pierce. "He got to be our X-factor. Guys are going to load up on me, load up on Kevin [Garnett], and he's got to be our X-factor. We depend on him for that."

Terry's Game 4 performance is one many have been waiting for all season. The former championship-winner signed with the Celtics last summer and looked to give them a sharpshooting presence off the bench. But he didn't have that same consistency this season and shot 0-for-5 FG (0-4 3PG) to open the playoffs in Game 1.

Undeterred by his offensive struggles, Terry declared on Saturday he was going to "come out with the heart, the passion, the energy that's needed to get a win" on Sunday. He was also playing with added motivation after being on the receiving end of a J.R. Smith Flagrant 2 foul on Friday (Smith was suspended for Game 4).

"I had every intention on trying to make an impact on the game," said Terry. "Some way or the other -- if I wasn’t making shots, I wanted to get a steal, get a rebound, any little thing to keep it going."

The former Sixth Man of the Year helped lift the Celtics not only with his shot but also with his spirit. He energized the team on the bench and on the court, staying in their ears with encouragement and hype to fuel them in the hostile game.

"He was talking the whole game," said Avery Bradley. "He was so excited. He’s like, 'This is fun. Come on man, we can beat these guys,' and everybody’s energy just rose. You saw how JET played in overtime. He wanted to win this game just like everybody else did and he played hard."

Doc Rivers noticed the 14-year veteran was speaking up more on Sunday. Between the Flagrant foul and the possibility of elimination, the Celtics head coach saw a fire from Terry.

“He was definitely vocal," said Rivers. "Definitely Jason Terry was angry that (the foul) happened. He let his teammates know yesterday and today. But he’s just a fighter -- I’ve told you that before.

"I didn’t know him until this year and I said it the other day, he’s just one of those guys you want around your team whether he’s playing or not. He brings sunshine. … The sunshine-bringers, that’s who you want. And Jason Terry is one of those guys.”

On Sunday Terry also brought a victory to the Celtics. He isn't ready to go home yet. April is just too early for him.

"At the end of the day, this is it," he said. "It’s going to be a long summer, so every game is crucial, every possession. This is the first time that we really came out with fire in our eyes, and I guess that’s because it’s elimination. Every game from here on out is Game 7 for us."