WALTHAM, Mass. -- Perhaps not wanting to add any fuel to the already raging fire that is the New York Knicks' 3-0 Eastern Conference first-round series lead over the Boston Celtics, Jason Terry did not want to discuss the elbow he absorbed from Knicks guard J.R. Smith in the fourth quarter of Friday's Game 3 loss, which put Boston's season in a stranglehold.
Terry had to be restrained by head coach Doc Rivers and teammates after the hit knocked him to the floor, and Smith was later assessed a flagrant-2 foul and ejected. "No comment," was all Terry had to say on the matter Saturday, focusing instead on how the Celtics need to show a new resolve in Sunday's do-or-die Game 4 to get themselves back into this series.
"We've just got to fight harder than what we've been doing," Terry said. "I mean, they're outworking us. You can see it on the tape. Their energy is much better than ours. Offensively, their offense is running much more fluid and smooth, and they know what they want to do. They're very determined. The only way we can deter them is to come out and fight and be aggressive, which I have no doubt in my mind that we've got fight in us."
Terry, who started in place of Brandon Bass on Friday to give the Celtics an extra ball-handler beside Avery Bradley, finished with 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting, but was as guilty as the rest of his teammates of missing open looks at the basket. While the point-blank misses have the C's a bit mystified right now, Terry vowed to shrug off the disappointment of Friday and gear up for Sunday.
"When you get your butt kicked like they've been doing to us the last week or so and you're seeing the same team every day, you're going to get tired of it, or you're going to lay down," Terry said. "I'm tired of it.
"I'm coming out with something. I'm going to come out with the heart, the passion, the energy that's needed to get a win. We have to do that collectively. One man's not going to be able to provide that. It has to be a collective unit and we've got to get it done together."
Jeff Green echoed those thoughts, stressing that the Celtics have to rally as a team, and that one player can't bear the responsibility of getting everyone focused. But some players will probably speak louder than others, and, chances are, Terry will be one of them.
"Jason is a very, very competitive human being, and that's why I love him," Rivers said. "He's great to have on your team, because of that. Even when he doesn't play well, it's still great, because he's always in it for the right reasons. There is no phony stuff with him. He wears it on his sleeve, he tells the truth in the locker room, he owns up to any mistakes he makes. He's the perfect guy to have on your basketball team. You know why he's won a title, and you know why he's been a good player."
Even with his team's back against the wall, Terry stressed an optimistic outlook, particularly for Boston's offense. The Celtics managed just 31 first-half points in Game 3 and have averaged a mere 75 for the series. But they're still satisfied with the shots they've been getting, and Terry believes they'll finally start falling in Game 4.
"The shots we missed in this last game, I mean, were at the basket," Terry said. "To start the game we missed two layups, I come down the lane and miss a wide-open layup. I mean, that's the frustrating part about it, but you can't be deterred, you have to stay determined and know that if you get those same looks, I mean, something's gotta break. You're not going to continue to just score 70 points every game. That's just crazy. I've played youth basketball, AAU, I mean, I've never scored (so few) points."
Terry said he's unsure if he'll start again in Game 4 -- Rivers later said he has yet to make a decision on that -- but said he'll be ready for whatever is needed of him. And he expects the same from the rest of his team.
"You've got to show up (Sunday), ready to go," Terry said. "It's a 1 o'clock start, which, hey, you've got to get up early, you've got to be ready. You've got to be hungry."