Terry makes preseason debut as Nets fall to Celtics
By John Torenli, Sports Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Jason Terry has been a champion at every level, and hopes to bring that winning pedigree with him to Brooklyn this season as the rebuilt Nets shoot for their first-ever NBA crown.
"I'm very honored to be here," Terry said upon being introduced to our fair borough, along with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, after the three arrived at the Barclays Center following the blockbuster draft day deal that sent them here from Boston.
"We're here to compete for a championship," added the 2009 NBA Sixth Man of the Year. "I've been in Atlanta, Dallas, Boston and now to be able to call Brooklyn my home, I'm just very honored. And ready!"
The 36-year-old shooting guard certainly looked it Wednesday night in Boston as he registered seven points and three assists in just over 24 minutes during his first action in a Brooklyn uniform after sitting out the Nets' previous five preseason contests while recovering from an offseason knee procedure.
The player most commonly referred to as "Jet" received a hearty ovation from the crowd of 15,865 at Boston's TD Garden, where he spent just one of his 14 NBA seasons.
''It was special just to see some of my fans that were courtside that I used to talk to and throw headbands and stuff to,'' said Terry, who will most likely be the Nets' first man off the bench when they officially tip-off the 2013-14 campaign next Wednesday night in Cleveland. ''They gave me a warm welcome and that was good.''
Even better was the fact that Terry reported no lingering affects from his injury after making 3-of-7 shots from the floor, including a 3-pointer, and grabbing a pair of rebounds while committing two turnovers in Brooklyn’s 101-97 loss.
A two-time state champion at Seattle's Franklin High School in the mid-1990s, a member of the University of Arizona's 1997 national title squad and a key piece, along with Nets’ first-year coach Jason Kidd, on the Dallas Mavericks' 2011 NBA Finals-winning team, Terry knows a thing or two about coming up big when his team needs him most.
During the Mavericks' drive to the title nearly three years ago, Terry matched an NBA record with nine 3-pointers in a playoff win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
He also averaged 17.5 points per contest during Dallas' postseason run to the title, which culminated in a stunning four-games-to-two triumph over Miami Heat in the Finals.
"Those were some of the best years in my career," Terry said of his eight seasons with the Mavericks before a one-year stopover with the Celtics. "We wound up winning a championship."
Though he arrived here with much less fanfare than Pierce and Garnett, both of whom are headed for the Hall of Fame when they retire, Terry has the advantage of having shared the same backcourt with his new coach.
He believes his chemistry on the hardwood with Kidd will translate just as well from coach to player during the upcoming season.
"Playing alongside Jason, the best point guard ever to play in the history of the game, he was always coaching," Terry revealed. "If there was a practice to be run, he was always out there, drawing up plays. I think this transition for him [from player to coach] is going to be smooth. I love playing for a guy who understands me and understands my game."
“We’re gonna find out how mentally tough this team is," Terry added. "Jason Kidd is ready for this job. I don’t know any other guy who could go from his first year out of the league to coaching. But as a player, when he spoke, people listened. He’s always prepared.”
So, apparently, is Terry as the Nets prepare to embark on a make-or-break season that will likely decide whether owner Mikhail Prokhorov's offseason spending spree will result in achieving the franchise's ultimate goal.
"For me, it's an opportunity to win another championship," Terry said.
Hoop du Jour: G Deron Williams has finally been cleared to practice with the team over the past several days, and even hinted that he might make a push to see some preseason action in the Nets' exhibition finale at Miami on Friday night. But the $98 million point guard will likely remain on the bench in the hopes that he can make his in-game debut next Wednesday night in Cleveland in the Nets' season opener. “It was good to get back out there,’’ noted Williams, who had been sidelined with a sprained ankle suffered during an offseason summer workout. “It was 15 or 20 minutes, but to get contact, play five on five, feel like you’re part of the team, stop being a member of the cheerleading squad, felt good.” ... F Garnett and F Pierce both sat out in their return to Boston, as did fellow starters G Joe Johnson and C Brook Lopez. The starting five, sans Williams, will likely get their last run in Friday in Miami before the team heads back to Brooklyn to prepare for the Cavaliers. ... G Shaun Livingston, filling in as the starting point guard in Williams' absence, had nine points and five assists against the Celtics in 23:42. Backup point man Tyshawn Taylor, returning from an ankle injury of his own, was the Nets' top scorer with 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Livingston would start and Taylor would be counted upon for big minutes off the bench if Williams is unable to play against the Cavaliers on Wednesday.