DALLAS -– Jason Terry bleeds Dallas Mavericks blue.
For those who didn’t know it before, Terry reiterated it Friday morning a few minutes after he walked into the American Airlines Center for the first time since he left the Mavs last summer to sign a three-year, $15.675 contract with the Boston Celtics.
Asked about the Mavs’ struggles, Terry quickly said: “It’s tough (to see the Mavs struggle), because I’m still a Mavs fan at heart. Again, when you break up the team, that’s what happens.’’
Terry played a key role in the Mavs winning the 2011 NBA title. But Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Rodrigue Beaubois are the only players currently with the Mavs who were on that championship team.
Since then, the Mavs were 36-30 and swept in the first round of last year’s lockout-shortened by the Oklahoma City Thunder in four games. And this season they’re 32-36 and in jeopardy of not making the playoffs at all.
Terry felt there’s “no question’’ the Mavs could have made another run at another title had all the key pieces been brought back last season.
“And we probably would have gotten better, we probably would have added a couple more pieces, but it didn’t happen,’’ Terry said. “So you can’t cry about it now.’’
Still, Terry was disappointed how players like Tyson Chandler, JJ Barea, Caron Butler, Corey Brewer and DeShawn Stevenson were so easily dispatched. Especially since he felt the Mavs were on the verge of possibly building a dynasty.
“You like to have a chance to fight for what you’ve earned, and we didn’t get that opportunity,’’ Terry said. “I mean, it’s over now.
“We’re past the disappointment and we have to move on.’’
Because of what Terry has meant to the Mavs and to the Dallas community, owner Mark Cuban has said he’ll have a job available for Terry whenever he retires. When told that on Friday, Terry said:
“I was going to take him up on it at the All-Star break (last month in Houston), but I didn’t see him. So we’ll see what he says tonight.’’
Terry isn’t particularly motivated to show Cuban what he missed out on tonight. Especially, since this has been a particularly tough week for Terry, who got dunked on by LeBron James on Monday, then went scoreless when the Celtics lost at New Orleans by one point on Wednesday.
“I’ve got to do something,’’ Terry said. “I was oh for the last game.
“I didn’t score any points and I had a lot of turnovers, so you best believe I’m going to be aggressive tonight.’’
Terry described this trip to Dallas as all positive. Since the Celtics are in the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference and appear well on their way to the playoffs, he has nothing to complain about.
“Again, we’re in a good place,’’ Terry said. “We’re fighting for a playoff positioning, and so again we are focused on getting a win.
“But it will be good to come back home.’’
Coming back home also meant Terry had to get back to his second job as coach of his youth basketball teams in Far North Dallas.
“I coached my kids (Thursday night),’’ Terry said. “I’ve got a boys eight grade team, and a girls sixth grade (team).
“I went up, we had practice, then had a parent meeting. Same old Jet.’’
That “same old Jet’’ will be sitting in the opposing locker room for the first time since the 2003-’04 season when he was a member of the Atlanta Hawks. Indeed, it will be a surreal scene.
“I know how to get over there,’’ Terry said. “It’s not quite as nice and friendly over there.
“I’m sure afterwards I’m going to go check out my old locker.’’
-- Dwain Price
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