Jason Terry had always been one of the best fourth-quarter scorers in the league, but hadn't shown that skill consistently in the 2011 NBA Finals thanks in part to great defense from LeBron James. On Thursday's, though, Terry finally broke through, scoring eight points in the last three and a half minutes to allow the Dallas Mavericks to pull away for a 112-103 win over the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the 2011 NBA Finals.
Terry provided the dagger in the Heat's hearts with 33.8 seconds left, giving the Mavericks a seven-point lead with this three.
The Heat couldn't defend Terry all game long, as he finished with 21 points on 8-12 shooting. Some of the shots were difficult shots, like that one, but many weren't. Even on that shot, you'd think James could have closed out a little bit harder, knowing that Terry was probably going to shoot it anyway. This is the same guy Dirk Nowitzki called a "confident young man" in the post-game press conference, even though Terry is nine months older than him. He was going to put it up and then go crazy afterwards.
Terry's play puts Miami in a quandary. James had stifled him in the fourth quarter before, but Terry has figured him out. Now, Erik Spoelstra must think about whether the matchups make sense. Would it be better for Dwyane Wade to guard Terry in a more conventional matchup, switching James to Marion? Would it be better to finally put James on Nowitzki and see if he can make his mark on defense? These are tough decisions that will have to be made in light of what happened in Game 5. Dallas in general has solved Miami's defense. Now, Miami needs to adjust.