CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 21 (Ticker) -- Jason Terry
comfortable both running the high-powered offense of the Dallas
Mavericks and contributing to it.
Terry scored 17 points, including two clutch jumpers in the
final 90 seconds, as the Mavericks held on for a 105-99 victory
over the Charlotte Bobcats, who have lost seven straight games.
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Acquired in an offseason trade with Atlanta, Terry began the
season on the bench behind rookie point guard Devin Harris
sixth-year veteran eventually won the starting job and the
trust of his teammates, specifically long-time Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki
and Michael Finley
Eighth in the NBA in shooting at 52 percent, the combo guard is
finding the balance between passing and scoring in Dallas'
attack. In his previous seven games, Terry was averaging nearly
18 points and six assists.
"He is the key to this team, because he has the ball in hands
and he controls the tempo for us," Dallas guard Jerry Stackhouse
said. "If he's dragging the ball up the court and it's a slow
tempo game, then that's not where we need to be. He started
pushing the ball in the second half tonight and got us into the
tempo we like and next thing you know it's a 13-point lead."
The Mavericks were in control for most of the second half. They
held a 13-point lead entering the final period and still owned
a 93-83 advantage after a jumper by Terry with 4:36 to play.
"I'm not doubting that kid anymore," Dallas interim coach Avery
Johnson said. "We had a little pep talk at halftime. I won't
disclose what I talked to him about and he won't say anything.
If he does, I'll kill him. He really got it going tonight.
"We count on Jason. Right now, he is really moving his game up
there and the more we win, the more he can silence a lot of the
Terry said the chat with Johnson made him feel better.
"Anytime you get the vote of confidence from your coach it says
a lot and it means a lot," he said. "It motivated me to go out
there in that second half and just be a general out there on the
floor. I'm starting to realize what I was brought here for and
that's to come in and play the point guard position and do
whatever it takes to win. I've been doing that and now guys are
feeling more confident with me, which helps also."
The expansion Bobcats rallied behind Jason Kapono, who scored 13
of his 14 points in the last 4 1/2 minutes. He made a pair of
3-pointers and two free throws to help cut the deficit to 97-96
before Terry drilled a jumper with 1:29 left.
"You shoot the ball; that's what you do," Charlotte coach Bernie
Bickerstaff said. "You don't worry about missing. They got
him the ball in a rhythm. When you can shoot the ball like
that, you space the defense and you can penetrate a few times
and to the hole."
"He knows I'm in his corner, even though I like to box with him
in that corner a lot, in practice and in film session," Johnson
said. "He's getting better and he was huge for us tonight down
"I've taken big shots and I've hit big shots," Terry said. "So,
I'm not scared at all to step up and do that, but we have plenty
of guys that can do that. Tonight, it just fell in my hands,
so I took it."
Finley made a jumper with 39 seconds remaining but Kapono
answered with a 3-pointer just four seconds later to make it
101-99. On Dallas' next possession, Terry calmly sank a
15-footer from the right baseline to effectively seal the win
with 15 seconds to go.
Rookie Emeka Okafor
had 24 points and 15 rebounds for the
Bobcats, who matched their worst slide of the season. They have
won once in 14 games since Christmas.
"We just have to be more consistent," Okafor said. "These past
few games we've been pretty good at staying in the game and
playing real hard. We played a good game. We just have to pat
ourselves on the back and try to win the next one."
Nowitzki and Finley scored 20 points each and Stackhouse added
19 off the bench for Dallas, which has won four in a row and
nine of 11. It is 2-0 since Johnson replaced coach Don Nelson,
who is sidelined for up to three weeks following shoulder
"The bar is set so high for this team that we're not even close
to reaching our potential," Terry said. "We've shown flashes,
but if we can do it on a consistent basis, that's going to tell
if we're going to be a good team or not and I know we will be in
time and me maturing is a part of that process."
The Mavericks used a 12-2 run to close the first half and take
the lead for good at 56-48. A 9-0 burst ended the third quarter
and extended the advantage to 79-66 entering the final period.