Terry has found his place in Boston

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Terry has found his place in Boston

MILWAUKEE Over time, Doc Rivers has developed an affinity for just about every one of his players, past and present.

But a select few bring about a different kind of appreciation from Rivers for having had a chance to coach them.

For years, Rivers has made no secret about Kevin Garnett fitting into that category.

Now you can add Jason Terry to the list.

"He's like Kevin in a lot of ways to me," Rivers said. "Everybody should coach him, once. He's just a joy; he's just fun. He plays hard."

Said Terry: "It's a huge compliment, obviously. It goes to my dedication and hard work and my ability to be coached. I do feel at this point in my career, I have tons to learn."

And that willingness to learn and prove himself on a nightly basis is at the heart of what drives him to never settle on being good at one or two aspects of the game.

While most know him for his 3-point shooting (he's fourth all-time in made 3s), he's also an accomplished mid-range shooter.

Terry said his mid-range game has steadily improved courtesy of many days in the offseason spent working on it with Hall of Famer George Gervin who went to high school with Terry's uncle.

"The mid-range is my lay-up," said Terry, adding that he has been working with Gervin since 2003.

Even more surprising than his steady mid-range jumper, has been what he has brought to the C's lineup defensively.

While Courtney Lee was credited for the job he did defensively in Boston's blowout win over Portland on Friday, Terry was also solid.

Terry's ability to hold his own against Portland's guards and not allow them to beat him off the dribble, paid off handsomely for the C's defense which limited the Blazers to 34.8 percent shooting along with 23 turnovers that led to 18 points for the Celtics.

The job Terry did defensively against the Blazers isn't all that different than what he has done most of this season, Rivers said.

"And he honestly should be our worst defender, by far," Rivers said. "And yet when you watch the film, he rarely shows up doing something bad defensively because he's so darn competitive. It's a great lesson for some of our young guys."

And some of the not-so-young guys, too.

"He's definitely been aggressive for us on the defensive end," Celtics 11-year veteran Chris Wilcox told CSNNE.com. "If he's on the back-side of any type of action, you know you're covered."

Terry said his play defensively comes down to simply wanting to compete.

"I know at this point in my career, I'm not going to change my identity and become a defensive stopper," Terry said. "But I can compete every possession, make it tough on my opponent and play the system."

Indeed, Terry has played under Avery Johnson and Rick Carlisle in Dallas, two coaches who place a high premium on strong play defensively.

"The terminology (in Boston) is a little different," Terry said. "But the system is pretty much the same. As long as you compete and play hard and fight for every possession, then you're going to have some success defensively."

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