Dallas Mavericks' Terry vows to have better finish tonight

Posted Sunday, Apr. 29, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

Who will win the opening-round playoff series between the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder?

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Rarely is it that when Jason Terry has a hot hand, the Dallas Mavericks can't get him the ball during crucial moments.

Such was the case Saturday night when the Mavs lost Game 1 of their opening-round playoff series to the Oklahoma City Thunder 99-98.

For three quarters, Terry was scorching hot. Going into the fourth quarter, the 13-year veteran had 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting while putting the OKC defense on a swivel.

But in the fourth quarter, Terry only attempted one shot -- and was scoreless -- and barely even touched the ball.

Thunder guard Russell Westbrook was credited with shadowing Terry in the fourth period, but Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle took the blame for not designing schemes to free the hottest Mav in uniform Saturday.

"Westbrook was active on him, but frankly we were going to Dirk [Nowitzki] most of the time and that's where I think our balance can be a little better, and that's on me," Carlisle said. "I can do some things to get Jet a little more involved."

Terry is one of the Mavs' more reliable fourth-quarter scorers. So when he only attempts one shot while playing 11:42 of the final period, is that cause for concern?

"I'm not concerned," Terry said. "I've been doing it all year in the fourth quarter. I'll get another opportunity and we'll see if I can take care of business."

Terry and the Mavs will get another opportunity to gain an opening road split in Game 2 tonight at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Point guard Jason Kidd said that when Terry is in rhythm the way he was in Game 1, the Mavs need to find more shots for him.

"They put Westbrook on him and he just denied him the ball, so we have to figure out different ways to get Jet in different positions to get the ball to be successful, and we expect to see that [tonight]," Kidd said. "So hopefully we can get him in the right spot and hopefully he's still hot.

"He had a great game and it was our fault that we couldn't get him the ball in that fourth quarter."

Thunder forward Kevin Durant, who hit the game-winning jumper with 1.5 seconds left, said OKC had no choice but to pay more attention to Terry in the fourth period.

"Terry is such a wild card for them -- he does so much for them in the fourth -- one of their go-to guys," Durant said. "I think Russ did a good job of denying him the ball and making him see a few guys.

"He missed a shot that he normally makes, so hopefully we'll just keep denying him the ball and not let him get easy looks like he did in the first half, and hopefully we'll be fine. But he's such a big-game player late in the fourth that it's going to be a tough challenge."

Terry was 6 of 7 from the field with 14 points in the first half, but only 2 of 3 with six points in the second half. Durant credits the Thunder's halftime adjustments for limiting Terry's scoring opportunities.

"We're not going to just let him go around and score," Durant said. "In the second half we made him see a crowd and denied him a little bit and just made him shoot tough shots."

One of the game's best fourth-quarter scorers, Terry vows to return to his gunslinger ways tonight, regardless of who is guarding him.

"I don't care who's on me -- it doesn't matter," Terry said. "I'm going to be aggressive and look for opportunities to make plays."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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