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BOSTON (CBS) – With the Dallas Mavericks in town, one might think Wednesday night’s game would mean a little more for Celtics guard, and former Mav, Jason Terry.
But his focus is squarely on the present and not the past.
“Right now we’re just concerned about us and stringing together some games,” Terry said after the Celtics practice on Tuesday. “We have to put together three, four ,five games in a row. That’s where our focus is; Dallas just happens to be the next opponent.”
Terry spent eight seasons in Dallas, winning an NBA Championship in 2006. But when the sharpshooter hit the free agent market over the summer, he was not high on Dallas’ to-do list. But while the Mavericks set their sights on players such as Deron Williams and Dwight Howard, Terry received a full-court press from the Celtics. Doc Rivers called him at midnight when free agency began, and it was clear Boston wanted Terry to be an important part of their future.
As for the Dallas, they may still have “Mavericks” on their jersey, but they are not the Dallas Mavericks Terry won a title with.
“They have the same team name, but it’s not the same team,” he said. “It’s a totally different ballclub. Dirk [Nowitzki's] not even in uniform, Shawn Marion might not be out there, so those are the guys I won a championship with and they’re not there.”
Terry said he still has plenty of friends on Dallas, and looks forward to seeing Mavs owner Mark Cuban again, as well as his former coach Rick Carlisle.
“That’ll be emotional for me. I’ll go up, give him a good hug. I miss him; he’s definitely a good friend, one of the greatest coaches I’ve ever played for,” Terry said of Carlisle.
But with all the off-season turnover, there isn’t much else for Terry to look over and see on the Mavs bench.
“Maybe if Tyson Chandler was over there, if Jason Kidd was over there, then it would be something extra special. But, honestly, it’s really not,” he professed.
The Mavs come into Boston at 11-10, but winners of three straight. While they are without Nowitzki – who has yet to play this season with a knee injury – guard OJ Mayo has more than handled the load for them in his first six weeks with the team.
Mayo, who was brought in to replace Terry, is shooting 49-percent from the field and 53-percent from three-point range. He leads Dallas with 20.8 points per game, and has had a knack for quieting crowds on the road.
“OJ Mayo is playing off the charts,” said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. “What’s impressive with him is they’re running a lot of iso’s and he’s guarded taking three’s. That’s scary, when you say someone is guarded taking three’s and he’s making over 50-percent of them.
“With him, He’s really their catalyst,” said Doc, before noting that other Mavs are off to impressive starts too. “[Center Chris] Kaman is playing well, and Vince Carter has clearly went to the hot tub time machine. He’s playing terrific; he’s dunking and jumping. Rick is doing a great job with that team.”
With that, Terry and the Celtics know they’re in for another tough one Wednesday night.
“No game has been easy for us,” said Terry. “This is going to be a tough game; they’ve been playing very well.”
But instead of just a victory against his former team, what Terry wants most is something that has eluded his new squad all season: a lengthy win streak.
“We just have to go out and do it,” said Terry. “Our effort has been there, our defensive intensity has been there; offensively, it’s been a little spotty for us. I know for me personally, just being consistent with my shot and just making sure I’m taking and making a good shot. If we can put it together for 48 minutes, I think that’s when we’ll get the result.”