DALLAS — To make a point, or because he is Jason Terry, he strolled into American Airlines Center sporting his 2011 NBA championship ring, a reflection of his greatest accomplishment as a Dallas Maverick.
Terry returned to his old stomping grounds Friday night and did not downplay the emotional impact of his return after eight seasons. He was given a standing ovation when he entered the game at the 3:57 mark of the first quarter. And while he promised one of his vintage games in front of his former fans, he managed just 8 points in the Celtics’ 104-94 loss.
After going scoreless Wednesday in New Orleans, Terry promised aggression and couple of 3-pointers. He was moderate on the first and faltered on the second, missing 6 of 9 shots including both of his 3-point attempts.
“All I was worried about was getting the win,” he said. “We didn’t do it. [The ovation] was a good feeling, but again I was locked in on the game. It was good to see everyone, but I’m a Celtic now.”
When he signed a three-year contract with the Celtics in the offseason, he pointed to the day he would return to Dallas as a Celtic. After a difficult game Wednesday against the Hornets, Terry had little to say about returning to Dallas.
After a day off in his Texas home, spending time coaching his daughter’s AAU team, Terry was back to his talkative self Friday morning, surrounded by a horde of local media.
“It was fun [facing the Mavericks] in Boston, but here it’s obviously a lot more special,” he said. “This is cool, man, seeing all of you [media]. We spent a lot of time together. I’m just happy to be back. I definitely took my sedatives [so I can calm down]. I’m mild-mannered, but I’m definitely going to take a flight on the runway.”
Terry said being allowed to leave Dallas still causes some unpleasant feelings. While Celtics coach Doc Rivers called him the first minute teams could contact potential free agents, the Mavericks did not make a major push to bring him back, ending their relationship.
“I shed tears when I had to leave, so I don’t think I have any more left,” Terry said. “It’s tough [to see Dallas struggling] because I’m still a Mavs fan at heart, but again when you break up the team, that’s what happens.
“You’d like to get a chance to fight for what you earned and we didn’t get that opportunity, but it’s over now and we’re past the disappointment and you have to move on.”
Terry said the Mavericks would have been a contender in the Western Conference if they had brought back the core such as he and Jason Kidd, who signed with the New York Knicks.
“No question about it, we probably would have added a couple of more pieces, but it didn’t happen, so you can’t cry about it now,” Terry said.
Lee hurts ankle
Courtney Lee had to be carried off the court after spraining his left ankle with 1:21 left in the game. He was taken to the Celtics’ bench and walked to the locker room under his own power. The sprain was diagnosed as mild and he said he wants to play Saturday against the Memphis Grizzlies.
“The initial sprain is always the biggest zing when it happens,” Lee said. “But right now it’s throbbing. I sprained my ankle a couple of times before and right away it’s going to hurt the most. Once it calmed down, I was able to put pressure on it.”
With 14 games remaining and the Celtics virtually guaranteed a playoff spot, Rivers said he has begun preparing for the postseason. The Celtics are about a month from their first playoff game, and signed D.J. White and Shavlik Randolph for the rest of the season to cement their roster.
“You’re really watching everything with your team and you’re trying to find trends, things that you may be able to do,” Rivers said.
“The tough part is you don’t have a clue who you’re going to play and we may not know until the last game of the year. We have so many new guys with Jordan [Crawford] and the other guys that you’re trying to find out who you can trust in a playoff series.”
Rivers said there is no advantage playing an opponent in the playoffs that his team dominated in the regular season.
“I don’t think that has anything to do with it, that has worked many ways through my career,” he said.
All about timing
Although Chris Wilcox has assumed the backup center role, Rivers said his minutes aren’t guaranteed. Rivers has been unimpressed with Wilcox’s play this season.
Wilcox scored 5 points and grabbed one rebound in 15:32, and, to highlight Rivers’s point, a plus-minus of minus-17.
“There’s still minutes out there,” he said. “Or more minutes for guys who are playing less minutes. We want Chris to play better. That’s the guy we want but that doesn’t mean that’s the guy it’s going to be. There’s other guys behind him, they want his minutes, too.”Gary Washburn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @gwashNBAGlobe.