When Jason Terry Flies, So Do the Celtics

BOSTON – Is Jason Terry the key to Boston’s playoff success? The numbers tell us that the answer to that question may be a resounding ‘yes.’

Terry has had an up-and-down campaign during his first year with the Celtics but he played a critical role in Boston’s last two victories. He led the Celtics to a Game 4 triumph by scoring the final nine points of overtime and then dropped 17 points during Boston’s Game 5 win.

Jason Terry acts as if he's flying after making a shot

Regular season and postseason numbers tell us that when Jason Terry is flying, so are the Celtics.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images

Those two performances served as tremendous sparks for the Celtics. Terry played well, and his teammates followed suit. Unfortunately for Boston, his teammates also followed suit when he didn’t play well during Games 1, 2 and 3.

None of this should come as much of a surprise to the Celtics or their fans. For the most part, Boston went as Terry did during the 2012-13 season; when Terry shot well, the Celtics won. When Terry shot poorly, the Celtics lost. The splits between those games are about as dramatic as they come.

Terry appeared in 40 wins during the regular season and he was stellar during those contests. He made 48.6 percent of his shots and 43.5 percent of his 3-pointers in those games. Even his free throw shooting was great during wins, as he shot 89.1 percent from the stripe. Those strong shooting numbers led to an average of 11.4 points per game.

As good as the JET was in wins, he was that bad in losses. His shooting percentages dropped substantially during the 39 losses in which he took part. In those games, he shot just 37.8 percent from the field, 30.4 percent from 3-point range, and 85.1 percent from the free-throw line.

Yikes!

Take a second to process how sizable those drops are in all three categories. Compared to his numbers during wins, that’s a 10.8 percent drop on field goals, a 13.1 percent drop on 3s and a 4.0 percent drop on free throws.

Believe it or not, the splits between wins and losses have become even more egregious during the postseason.

The first three games of this series, all of which were losses for Boston, featured Terry hitting just 31.8 percent of his shots, 37.5 percent of his 3s and 75.0 percent of his free throws. Those numbers jumped all the way up to 50.0 percent from the field, 46.2 percent from downtown and 100 percent from the charity stripe during the last two wins. The losses included an average of 7.5 PPG. The wins included an average of 17.5 PPG.

As the saying goes, numbers don’t lie. Terry’s ability to shoot the ball effectively and provide a scoring punch off of the bench is critical to Boston’s success. He has provided that punch over the last two games, and if he does it again tonight, the C’s may wind up on the brink of history.