DALLAS _ Reminded that the Dallas Mavericks host Phoenix on Wednesday and play at San Antonio on Thursday, guard Jason Terry couldn’t help but state the obvious.
“This is rivalry week for me,’’ Terry said after today’s practice at American Airlines Center. “Playing against Phoenix and then you turn around the next night and play San Antonio.
"Expect big things from the Jet.’’
The game against the Suns has special meaning for Terry. When the Mavs refused to re-sign fan favorite Steve Nash -- he was a free agent point guard in the summer of 2004 -- Nash signed with the Suns, and the Mavs, in effect, brought in Terry from the Atlanta Hawks to replace Nash.
While Terry became the first point guard to lead the Mavs to the NBA Finals (in 2006), he knows it took awhile to win over the fans’ heart. That's because Mavs fans had developed a very deep love affair with Nash.
Terry hasn’t forgotten any of that.
“When I came here I was obviously chosen as the guy to replace Steve Nash somewhat,’’ Terry said. “And so it’s just always something -- a little extra motivation -- when we play against them. It’s a rivalry for me.
“You know what that game means for me, personally. I’ve always taken that matchup personally and there’s nothing different this time. As long as they’re Phoenix and we’re Dallas, it’s going to mean something special.’’
Since the Mavs entertained Oklahoma City this past Monday, Terry was asked if the Thunder adds more credence to his “rivalry week’’ label.
“They’re Top 5,’’ Terry said. “It’s a big brother, little brother scenario, but it is what it is.
“They’re good. They’re up and coming and they’re dangerous. When you’ve got guys like (Russell) Westbrook and (Kevin) Durant on your ballclub, it’s tough.’’
The Mavs spanked the Thunder in five games last year in the Western Conference Finals and have split two games with them this season after losing a pair of preseason games to Oklahoma City.
“They’ve beaten us a number of times,’’ Terry said. “Now if you want to say in a (playoff) series, that’ll make some intensity come to the rivalry.’’
And what about nearby New Orleans, whom the Mavs host on Saturday?
“New Orleans?,’’ Terry asked. “I hate them, too.’’
-- Dwain Price
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