DALLAS (Reuters) - Jason Terry knows Dallas depend on him to be their catalyst in the fourth quarter of close games and the Mavericks guard is reveling in the role.
“It’s my job,” said Terry, who scored eight of his 21 points in the final quarter of the Mavs’ 112-103 victory over the Miami Heat on Thursday.
Dallas now hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven NBA Finals and can win their first championship by taking one of the remaining two games in Miami.
“All season long, ever since I’ve been a Maverick, I’ve been the guy in the fourth quarter they depended on to either make plays or make shots,” he said.
“So I really relish ... that role. Regardless of what’s going on throughout three quarters of the game, in the fourth quarter I know I’m depended on to come through.
“Thank God I was able to do that again tonight.”
Terry successfully launched two three-point bombs to spur a 15-3 Mavericks streak to close the game and push the franchise within one victory of their first title.
Dallas’s normally reliable guards had been missing open shots during much of the series and 12-year NBA veteran Terry told anyone who would listen a turnaround was imminent.
“We are getting the same looks we knew we would get,” said Terry, who hit eight of 12 shots and had six assists. “After Games One and Two, you watch it on film, you see it and realize where you’re going to have the opportunities.
“I said to myself, I said to my team mates, ‘We’re not going to continue to miss those open shots that we’re getting. And when you get those opportunities, knock them down.’”
Many of Terry’s points came against 6-foot-8 LeBron James, who is six inches taller than the Mavericks guard.
“Jet is a very emotional player,” said Mavs guard Jason Kidd. “In his career he’s been incredible in the fourth. The challenge for him with LeBron is to use his quickness.
“LeBron is one of the best defenders in this league. And (Terry) made some incredible shots tonight. When he gets going, he’s tough. No matter who is guarding him.”
James conceded Terry made big shots.
“He made some great three-point shots. A hand contested in his face. Some of them was open,” he said. “He’s just aggressive. We always said when he plays well, they’re very tough to beat.”
Editing by Peter Rutherford