Celtics guard Jason Terry has been keeping a diary for ESPNBoston.com this season. In his final edition, JET explains what went wrong against the Knicks, how the J.R. Smith elbow woke him up, and what he learned from Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. (as told to Louise K. Cornetta)
I have mixed emotions about the end of our season, but I am definitely disappointed. You hate to go home with that type of loss when you know you're better than the team in the other locker room. I do take my hat off to the Knicks, though. I have friends over there in Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler. I am so happy for them to have another opportunity to win a championship. I hope they can get it done. They're my good friends. So I'll root for them. But if it were up to me? If nobody could win the championship this year, that would be my choice.
Our team showed a lot of heart as we tried to come back in Game 6. I think if we look back on this season and someone wanted to define our team with one word, you would say heart. Each and every guy exemplified it in one way or another. This team just never quit.
Why did we lose? Because we dug ourselves into an 0-3 hole; you can't do that. You see why that is so tough to overcome. I understand why nobody has done it in professional basketball. When you dig yourself an 0-3 hole, it's just hard to get the gas up. Tonight was a prime example.
Looking back on some of the noteworthy items in this series like the J.R. Smith elbow I took, it definitely woke me up. I'm a competitor. Anytime something like that happens in a game or a series, it can kind of change a series around. I've been on the other side of it where I did something that almost changed a series around [with Dallas] but we got out of it and got the win. Every series is a learning experience. Each series is different. For us, I'm just proud of this team for the way we continued to fight.
J.R. may have said he didn't know who I was but he definitely knows who I am now. But I congratulated him after this final game; we leave everything between the lines on the court. I congratulated him on a great season. He had a tremendous performance, was the Sixth Man of the Year, and I wished him luck going forward.
Another headline in this series was the Knicks' wearing the black suits, which is something we did when I was in Dallas. J-Kidd and Tyson, they have to do whatever they feel works. Granted, if we had them in a close-out situation, I would have made sure we all wore black too. They got that idea from me from our Dallas days. No question it motivated us, though. But when you're down 0-3, you're looking for anything to motivate you.
What I hope we take from this experience into next year is to play with passion and heart every night. When we play worry-free basketball, we will be tough to beat. Getting to play with KG and Paul was a great experience. I know there are people wondering if they'll both be back next year. I can't answer that, but what I can tell you is what they've taught me.
From KG I learned what it means to be a true professional. Not only during games, but in practice and everyday life. Like the way he takes on a task, it's just amazing. He puts his whole heart and soul into whatever he's doing. He's so passionate. It was an honor playing alongside him. I'm signed here as long as he is. So hopefully this isn't the end. From Paul, what I learned is it's never over. As long as there is time on the clock, then we have a shot to win and that's what he exemplified all season.
What I want to work on for next season is to get healthy and make sure my body is functioning at a high level. I hope my personality was able to help spark the team. The way I am comes from inside of me. My mother was a single parent who raised 10 kids. Even working two jobs, she would always come home with a smile on her face. How she is really had an impact on who I am today. Another part of my personality is trash-talking out on the court. Super true that I like trash-talking, that's my game. I learned from the best in Gary Payton, who is obviously my idol and a guy that I still look up to. I got it from him.
To our fans, please don't be disappointed. Be proud of your team. We played with tremendous heart and passion. We'll come back next year even hungrier. In the meantime, I'll be with you rooting for the Bruins. The Red Sox, well, I can't lie, I am a Mariners fan and they're both in the AL. My loyalty is with Seattle there, but Big Papi is a friend of mine.
I'll spend my offseason coaching. I'm going to coach and prepare for life after basketball. I've got sixth-grade girls waiting for me to coach their Lady Jets team and some eighth-grade boys on Team Jet. They want their coach back. All in all, I'm disappointed but I get to now spend time with the family and enjoy it.