Preview: Mavs travel to meet JET, Celtics in Beantown
Earl K. Sneed reports from Boston and previews the start of the Dallas Mavericks' three-game road trip, as the team faces off with ex-Mav Jason Terry for the first time since he joined the Celtics in free agency.
Preview: Mavericks (11-10) at Celtics (11-9)
Mavs travel to meet JET, Celtics in Beantown
The two will face off in a nationally-televised matchup in Boston Wednesday night.
Appearing in two NBA Finals, receiving the 2009 Sixth Man of the Year Award and playing an instrumental role for the Mavericks' 2011 championship team, Terry will face his former club for the first time since seeing his season and time in Dallas ended with a first-round playoff series sweep at the hands of Oklahoma City. Meanwhile, Mayo will try to continue leading the Mavericks (11-10) without 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki (right knee surgery), hoping to extend Dallas' three-game winning streak as the team enters the T.D. Garden for the start of a three-game road trip.
"They're completely different and I wouldn't even presume to get in a conversation about comparing them," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said of the two sharpshooters. "You know, they're just so different, I don't think it's fair to either guy to get into a comparison. Style of play, the situation that we're in now, as opposed to when JET [Terry] was here, really, so many things are different."
He added: "JET was an all-time great Mav, and I have no doubt his number will be in the rafters at some point. Eight years with one franchise, a championship, the sacrifice he showed being willing to be a sixth man, basically a starter coming off the bench and giving the team that unusual, unique kind of punch, just makes him a very special person and a very special player."
Starting 15 of his 20 appearances this season for the Celtics (11-9), however, Terry is averaging just 11.4 points, which is his lowest total since his rookie year. Vice versa, Mayo has thrived in a starting role in Dallas after two seasons coming off the bench in Memphis. And with the league's eighth-leading scorer (20.8 ppg) averaging 27.3 points and shooting 57.7 percent during the last three games, the Mavericks haven't skipped a beat while Nowitzki nears a return.
Mayo, who has also heard the comparisons to the role that Terry played for the Mavs during his tenure in Dallas, has accepted the go-to scoring duties with Nowitzki sidelined. He's also unleashed new aspects of his own game this season, taking Terry's success in the Mavs' backcourt and building on it in his own unique way.
"Not too much. Obviously he had a great part of his career here, got a championship and was a big part of it, but not really a whole lot," Mayo said when asked how much he studied Terry's game in a Mavericks' uniform when deciding to sign with his new team. "Obviously he's a scorer, he can shoot the ball, he was very successful here, so that did make quite a difference. … Obviously that's 20 points leaving the team, but I just wanted to come here and pretty much have an opportunity to play with a great organization, with a great player like Dirk, and obviously Coach Carlisle and [Mavericks owner Mark Cuban] made a huge difference."
Through 21 games, Mayo has yet to have the opportunity to play with Nowitzki. For the last two games, he's also been without four-time All-Star Shawn Marion, who is a game-time decision Wednesday night as he continues to battle a strained right groin.
Still, with Mayo leading the way, the Mavs enter the start of their current road trip sitting one game over .500. And with an opportunity to collect a fifth straight win over the Celtics and fourth straight overall, Mayo will likely again be called on to be the main catalyst, after following up a season-high 40-point effort in Houston by leading six players in double figures with 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting and 3-of-4 from 3-point range in Monday night's 119-96 rout of Sacramento.
"We’re playing great basketball now, but now we’ve got to take it on the road and just continue playing hard. Just continue playing with a lot of effort and energy," Mayo said. "You know, you can’t say that enough. We’ve got the talent to get the wins, but we’ve got to continue with the same effort and energy night in and night out.”
Note: The Mavericks once again venture out away from home, beginning a three-game road trip Wednesday night in Boston against ex-Mav Jason Terry and the Celtics. It will be the first time the Mavs face the Celtics since Terry signed with Boston as a free agent this offseason. The game will air nationally on ESPN and locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7 p.m. CT.