We all saw Jason Terry beaming when he first came into tonight's game, and he was at it again in his post-game interview. He's such a competitor, I'm sure those weeks out with the broken hand were killing him. Good news is, the hand wasn't bothering him whatsoever on Sunday night. He said he may experiment with braces to see which one feels best (he had a hard one, with a soft pad underneath tonight).
Here's what he had to say: "The crowd gave me a great ovation, but I had to shake it off quick because J. Kidd was too busy calling my play. My timing was a little off, but we got the win and the guys were feeding off the energy. It was a total team effort, (Kidd's assist) milestone, James Singleton’s great rebounding effort, it really propelled us to have a great game tonight."
As far as his getting back into a rhythm, "it's more timing than anything. I still have to make the adjustment, still have to be prepared."
Now Terry's hand isn't completely healed yet (remember when we all figured it would be six weeks before he returned), but here's a quote from Mavericks team doctor T.O. Souryal about that: "Jason has several more weeks before the fracture is completely healed. His risk for reinjury is no different than it would be several weeks from now. Given than the injury is on his non-shooting hand, head athletic trainer Casey Smith fashioned a protective brace and Jet was anxious to give it a try."
Antoine Wright had another impressive outing tonight, scoring 20 points (including 4 for 4 from 3-point range). When Wright was told he outscored former teammate Vince Carter 13-0 in the third quarter, Wright was amused: "That’s what it was? I’m going to remind him of that. Vince is great. I just wanted to come out and meet the challenge. Once a guy like that gets going, he can have a 50-point game. It was important to try to attack him and make him guard me a little bit, too." Wright and Jason Kidd's relationship has been a beneficial one to the young Wright, as the two noted. Wright: "It's just fun playing with him, practicing every day. He makes the game easier for you, and you can’t help but play off him. I just tried to make open shots, cut to the basket." Kidd: "He’s working hard. This gives guys opportunities -- with Jet out and with Dirk having maybe a slow start -- to knock down shots and us taking advantage of that."
Oh, and as far as Kidd, who had 23 points, being extra motivated to play his old team, he deflected all of it: "No, tonight I’m rested. I've been in that situation coming out of All-Star break and being a little tired, but I was well-rested and felt great. This is an important part of the season. We've put ourselves in position, and we have to do our job and hopefully we get a high seed. I just tried to make baskets tonight when they presented themselves."
Elsewhere, Jason Terry told reporters pregame that he still probably has about five weeks before he's back. Then he later said in a TV interview that he's ahead of schedule. I'm guessing the first diagnosis is most likely.
Jason Terry took a quick walk through the locker room a few minutes ago, slapping hands and wishing luck. I asked if he was there for a pep talk but he said that wasn't the case.
"The guys will be ready tonight. These are the world champions. You look on the calendar and you only have them twice, and this is a chance for redemption for what they did in Boston."
Terry said he caught his thumb in a player's jersey, either J.J. Barea's or a Chicago Bull's. He's feeling pretty good, and if he had his way he would start shooting after the All-Star break. Of course, it's ultimately up to team doctors, and he said he'll follow their orders. Until then, he'll stay positive.
"It’s tough. This is the first time I've had an injury in my career that’s been major. Obviously it’s an adjustment for me, but I'm just staying positive. Staying around the guys is going to help me."
And as for that text to Antoine Wright, Terry said he wanted to give one of his guys a lift:
"My job is strictly to be the guy who keeps guys motivated, mostly mentally. Antoine’s one of my guys, and he’s a big key to our success. Since January, he’s a big reason we’ve had success. He’s one of my guys I want to keep focused."
Ah, opportunity. It's a fickle thing, especially in the sports world. When it's available, you have to grab it or forever wonder what could've been. It's tough to look at opportunities created when a player is injured, but that's what the Mavericks have to do at the moment. Jason Terry is out for the next several, and someone (or more than one someone) has to take the opportunity and run.
So here's my question kids: Who will it be? Who has the best chance of filling some very big shoes? Or will there be more than one Mavs hero?
Your half time Maverick MVP is Brandon Bass with 12 points, 8 rebounds (6 of them offensive) and a block. He was busy cleaning up all those Maverick misses and was in-control aggressive when everyone else seemed to be in too big of a hurry to catch up.
Jason Terry was good also with 12 points, but disappeared for quite a stretch.
The Mavs shot terribly in the second quarter and were a putrid 7-24 from the field.
Jason Terry hit two big back-to-back threes, and if he starts heating up, it should open the Mavs up on other spots on the floor. It can also make the Hornets desperate to catch up, and thus get them off their game like they did in Game 3.