BOLTON, MA Jason Terry won a national championship at the University of Arizona as a reliable reserve. He won an NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks two years ago as the key to their second-unit's success.
Now in Boston, Terry will be called upon to provide a similar lift even if Avery Bradley's shoulder injuries force him to play as a starter.
First group or second group, Terry's focus this season remains the same.
"My mission is to kill; whether it's the Heat, whether it's the Lakers. Hopefully both. That's my mission, and that's what I'm here to do," Terry said on Tuesday shortly before teeing off at the Fifth Annual USI Shamrock Classic which was hosted by the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation.
During the offseason, Celtics coach Doc Rivers put his wish list to paper in a lengthy letter to Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations.
"We wanted a scorer off the dribble," Rivers said. "I sit down and write Danny a letter about needs; that was my number one need. I didn't think we had enough guys that could score off the dribble. (Rajon) Rondo can score off the dribble. But we needed a guy that could score and be a knock-down shooter. That was very important for us."
His value becomes even greater when you consider Bradley (shoulders) is expected to miss the first couple months of the season, in addition to Ray Allen opting to sign with the Miami Heat instead of returning to Boston.
Terry isn't putting much thought into who he is replacing, or the team he left behind in Dallas.
"Another opportunity to win a championship, that's what it's all about," Terry said. "There's no other motive but to go out and win, and win it all."
Conventional wisdom has been spreading almost from the moment Avery Bradley's shot (finally) dropped through the cylinder in the closing seconds Sunday night, and it goes something like this:
LeBron James was so bad in Game 3 that, determined to exact revenge, he's going to come out like a force of nature and obliterate the Celtics in Game 4.
Makes sense. But, you know, LeBron has had other playoff games in which he's scored fewer than 12 points. He's always been good the next time out -- certainly better than >12 points -- but nothing sweeping or historic:
And amazingly enough, his teams lost two of those three games.
So if you were thinking the Celtics' Game 3 triumph virtually guaranteed a Cavalier victory and a dominant LeBron James performance in Game 4 . . . well, maybe not.
CLEVELAND – Brad Stevens won’t know until shortly before tip-off tonight if he will have to make another lineup change.
Amir Johnson, whose right shoulder was injured in the Celtics' 111-108 Game 3 win on Sunday, is questionable for tonight’s Game 4.
“It’s better for sure,” Johnson told CSN this morning. “Yesterday, it was hard to lift. Today, I can move it all around. In shoot-around, I’m going to get a couple shots, see how it feels and go from there.
He added, “it’s definitely going to be a game-time decision. I’m going to go and shoot around, just to get a feel. And then for the game-time, I’ll shoot around some more, see how it feels and take it from there.”
Healthy or not, Johnson being with the starting group is far from a given.
The 6-foot-9 veteran has consistently been the first starter subbed out and usually winds up playing the fewest minutes.
In Game 3, two of his backups – Kelly Olynyk (15 points) and Jonas Jerebko (10 points) – shined brightly.
Here are some other highlights from the Celtics’ morning shoot-around.
THOMAS UPDATE: Isaiah Thomas met with a hip specialist on Monday, according to Stevens. “Still collecting information,” said Stevens, adding, “We’ll wait and see or we’ll discuss second, and third, and fourth, and fifth opinions.”
Thomas injured his right hip March 15 and later re-aggravated it in the first half of the Game 2 loss Friday. Less than 24 hours later, he was deemed out for the remainder of the playoffs.
He was replaced by Marcus Smart in the starting lineup and Smart responded with a career-high 27 points in Game 3, which included seven made 3’s which is a career-best mark as well.
BOUNCE-BACK CELTICS: The Celtics winning Game 3 sent shockwaves throughout the league, especially coming on the heels of a 44-point home court drubbing at the hands of the Cavs. “If you’re in sports long enough you’re going to have clunkers,” Stevens said. “You’re going to have games that don’t go your way. And our guys took seriously the idea of responding and just playing the next possession as well as they could.”
ROZIER HOMECOMING: The second-year guard grew up in nearby Youngstown, Ohio (75 miles southeast of Cleveland), so you can expect he’ll have a decent contingent of fans at tonight's game.
While he’s all-in for the Celtics, the same is not true of his friends and some family members.
“My family does a good job of staying on my side except for my one younger cousin,” Rozier said. “She loves LeBron.”