<
>

JET's Journal: Jason Eugene Terry Speaks

How cool is this? Some of you may recall that some time ago Raja Bell had an excellent journal here on ESPN.com. There was talk of doing something like that again during the playoffs. I said, rather boldly: "You know, if you're going to get a player to keep a journal like that, you might want to consider sticking it on TrueHoop, since we're already telling a lot of people to come here. Keep it in one place."
Then today, presto. Here it is. JET's Journal.

I didn't even do the legwork. For that, all thanks go to Sam Alipour, who is the guy who actually got these words out of Jason Terry. (Sam's also the author of one of the best road-tripping-with-an-NBA-player stories of all time.)

Without further adieu, the first installment of Jason Terry's Journal, as told to Sam Alipour:

Not About the Lineup
I hate to say it, but we needed a wake-up call.

Oh, what's that? You won 67 games? That's great. But this is a whole new season, you see. These Warriors aren't intimidated. As a matter of fact, in Game 1, they were the intimidator

Here's the thing though. We noticed their reaction following their win. They were very pleased, talking like they'd pulled off a miracle. But we don't think it was something they did. It was something we didn't do.

And it wasn't not sticking with our normal lineup.

See, some people criticized Avery (Johnson) for worrying about Golden State's "small ball" routine and trying to counteract that by starting a bunch of smaller guys with Dirk (Nowitzki) in the middle. But people fail to remember that the strength with our team -- and it's been like this since I've been here -- is we're a very deep team and very versatile. We can win with any type of lineup and style of play that we choose to. Starting smaller isn't anything new to us. We've done that in the past. We start two point guards in the backcourt. Other times, we start three shooting guards, with no point guards. Look, it didn't work in game one, so we went with a different lineup in game 2. The playoffs are all about making adjustments.

Not About Our Ex-Coach
And, please everybody, stop saying that Don Nelson has our number. That's ridiculous. Obviously, they've had some success against us. They've won -- what is it now? 6 of the last 7?

But remember, how many teams are in the league? 29? (Whatever, I don't even remember anymore. It's been a long season.) These 29 coaches are pros and they're all familiar with every team. It's not like Nelson knows our sets or, while he was coach here, he found some special kryptonite to shut down Dirk. These coaches are paid to know our individual tendencies.

So why have the Warriors had success against us? It's nothing other than this: If you don't stick to your system against the Warriors, they'll beat you. (Here's a trivia question: Who does that remind you of? If you said Phoenix, good for you. You don't win anything, though. Sorry.). If you get caught up in their "fast running, forget defense, let's just score more points" type of game, you're done.

It's About Energy
Now, we knew Game 1 was a big game for us. We fought all season to get home court wrapped up -- and we lost it. Why? We came out a little tense and without the energy that is needed in to win in the playoffs. They dictated the pace and tempo, and showed all of the emotion and energy, so they worked us over.

When I say tense, I wouldn't say we were nervous, but when watched the tape together on film, we noticed weren't playing with any excitement or enthusiasm. It's about being aggressive, attacking the basket, and not settling for outside shots. And a lot of us were guilty of that. Golden State is a great transition team -- you miss a jumper, they take a long rebound down for an easy dunk or a three in transition. We weren't diving for loose balls. Our bench wasn't into the game. These are they things you need in the playoffs, especially at home. You must play with energy and feed off your fans. And we blew it.

Bringing the Jet Fuel
After that loss, a lot of people in the media buried us. People love jumping to conclusions.

Players are no different: After the game, we were expecting that Avery would be ripping us. But Avery's a different cat. Sure, he's a fiery dude. But you never know with Avery. On a night that you think you did a dandy job and you're all pleased with yourself, you'll find yourself one-on-one with the head coach, up-close-and-personal, and it's not a good sight. Other times, after a loss like the one in Game 1, you think he'd loose it. But he was calm and in control. And that helped us maintain our composure.

Going into Game 2, my mindset wasn't exactly come out and lead the team in shots taken -- which I did. It was just to come out, be aggressive, shoot well, and win a must win game.

And yes, that was a Must Win Game. We can't go down 0-2, heading into Oakland.

So, I wanted to make sure we had the energy we were missing. And on this team, I feel I'm the guy who fuels this team's energy. I'm the one they look to. That's why they call me "The Jet." I'm the guy who brings the "The Jet Fuel." I'm the guy who gets it going. I'm interacting with the crowd. I play with emotion, and the other guys follow.

The Turning Point
If you saw the game, you know how that manifested itself during a stretch in the third quarter. I got fouled by Stephen Jackson, kept going, and got hit again by Baron Davis. That happens all the time. No big deal. Guys get fouled, continue their motion, and get an intentional second foul. Then, words were exchanged and such. Well, I just wanted to show them that we're not going to be intimidated. That moment was a turning point in the game and it swung the momentum in our favor.

That's playoff basketball. There are going to be intense moments with elbows being thrown. But what you got to do is stay in control. That's what we learned last playoffs when Stackhouse and I were suspended for a game. It was a sign of maturity in our part to not loose control. Baron is sorta new to the playoffs, but I wouldn't call it inexperience. He knows. He's been around. The NBA has a no-tolerance policy. You need to just walk away, these days.

We did a good job all around, slowing down the tempo, not jacking up shots, and not letting them run around. So we were able to contain Baron because the best defense is a smart offense.

Long-Term Thinking
And now, we've got a wide-open series. Tied up 1-1, on their home floor in front of their fans-who have been starving for the playoffs. And we want to take care of business. But it's not personal. People need to stop thinking that beating our old coach is personal for us players or for Avery. I don't think there's any personal vendetta. Avery doesn't want to beat the guy he re
placed. We're thinking the big scheme.

And we're thinking about winning a championship.

That's been our goal all season long. Anything less is not acceptable. We've been there last season, got a taste, and we want more.

Just keep watching. And, next time, don't jump to conclusions.