MILWAUKEE — Adjustment has been part of Jason Terry’s career, so his move to the Celtics’ starting lineup and his increased role defensively have been no problem.
In his 12 games as a starter, Terry is shooting 49 percent from the field and 38.4 percent from the 3-point line as the Celtics gradually have improved offensively. Terry has impressed coach Doc Rivers with his polished mid-range game, a byproduct, Terry said, of working with all-time great George Gervin.
“Well the mid-range is my layup,” he said before the Celtics lost to the Bucks, 91-88, at Bradley Center Saturday night. “It’s something I learned from George Gervin. I work out with him in the summertime and we don’t shoot any 3-pointers. We shoot all 2-point mid-range shots and a lot of time for me it’s about the footwork and, if I do it repetitiously, I’m just as confident in my mid-range as I am my layup.
“I’d much rather settle for the 10-foot, 15-foot shot, and that’s just been a strong suit of mine.”
Terry, a former Sixth Man of the Year, said he has no issue with starting.
“It’s something that obviously comes natural to me, but if I’m thrust back to the bench role, I’m ready to do that,” he said. “As long as I’m out there. That’s my motto.”
Terry started and played 40 minutes against the Bucks, scoring 15 points on 5-of-17 shooting — just 2 of 9 from beyond the arc.
Rivers said he’s impressed with Terry’s professionalism.
“He’s a pro, he’s been in the league for so long, I don’t think anything rattles him,” Rivers said. “He’s playing great with our starting lineup. I think he’d probably still rather come off the bench, but Jason, he’s just going to do whatever he thinks we need. He never asks questions, he just does it.”
Rivers said he learned before the Celtics’ loss to Milwaukee that longtime coach and close friend Rick Majerus probably wouldn’t survive through the night. After the game, Rivers fought back tears to discuss the man who tabbed Glenn Rivers as “Doc” for a Julius Erving T-shirt he sported to a basketball camp.
Majerus, 64, died Saturday. He was a Marquette assistant coach during Rivers’s three years at the school.
“That’s a tough one for me,” he said. “He’s the one that gave me my name. I knew before that he wasn’t going to make it through the night. I don’t want to talk much about it.”
When asked if it was difficult to coach Saturday,” Rivers said, voice tailing off, “Yeah.”
The Celtics welcomed back rookie Kris Joseph from NBADL Maine and he returned Friday night to score his first 2 NBA points on free throws in the 96-78 win over Portland at TD Garden. He scored 51 points over two games with the Red Claws.
The organization likes Joseph, a second-round pick from Syracuse, but with the number of small forwards on the roster, he wasn’t going to get much playing time.
When Rajon Rondo was suspended for two games because of fighting with the Nets’ Kris Humphries, the Celtics needed an extra body.
“For sure, it was definitely a great experience going down there, it was a humbling experience as well,” Joseph said.
“Just to be down there and being able to play and just realizing how blessed you are as a person, to even be able to do that. It was definitely worth it. Going back and forth, I have no problems with that.”
The Red Claws include Celtics No. 1 draft pick Fab Melo, who is averaging 8 points and 5.3 rebounds in three games.