Jason Terry key X-factor in Mav’s playoff run

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    It’s officially playoff time in the National Basketball Association, and as Dallas Mavericks’ sixth man Jason Terry is aware, his production in the postseason will play a vital role in the Mavs’ success.

    The Mavericks (57-25) clinched the No. 3 spot and are set to face the No. 6 Portland Trail Blazers (48-34). Game one in Dallas is set for 8:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN.

    The Mavs potentially could have had the No. 2 seed, but the Los Angeles Lakers took the two seed after beating Sacramento 116-108 Wednesday night in overtime.

    Forward Shawn Marion said these games are a team effort and not only about one player, but Terry will need to be himself.

    “We’re going to need Jet [Terry] to be Jet,” Marion said. “We’re going to need everyone to be themselves. It’s going to be a team effort, not only two people doing this and that. It’s not just going to be on one person. We’re going to need everybody to step up and help this team win.”

    Terry finished with 13 points alongside Dirk Nowitzki’s 32 points in a 121-89 home rout of New Orleans in the Mavericks’ regular season finale Wednesday night. Terry said this game was an example of the intensity his ball club needs going into the playoffs, which may be the fuel Dallas needs go beyond the first round.

    “Tonight was a great example of what we’re going to do to have success,” Terry said. “We have to get after it defensively, make the physical plays and not be outworked on either end of the floor.”

    It hasn’t been a smooth ride off the court this season for Terry with the death of his aunt.

    On the court, Terry was given a flagrant foul after pushing down the Lakers’ Steve Blake in a 110-82 loss March 31. He was also involved in a confrontation with J.J. Barea and Coach Rick Carlisle in 107-96 win against the Clippers April 8. After making 1-of-2 free throws to tie the game on Monday against Houston with 1.5 seconds left in regulation, Terry appeared to celebrate as if the Mavs won despite the game heading to overtime. Terry dismissed the notion, saying he was only excited the Rockets did not get a shot at the basket before the end of regulation.

    But the Arizona alumnus is putting the regular season behind him to prepare for the playoffs. Terry said this may be the season for the Mavericks and that he feels his team is the team to beat in the West.

    “We know our plan of attack,” Terry said. “We have a good flow and rhythm to our game. Everybody says the Lakers is the team to beat, but I know seven other teams in the Western Conference that feel like they’re the team to beat and we’re one of them. I feel like now is the time and we’re ready.”

    Terry is the only player to appear in every game for the Mavericks this season. The 11-year pro registered his 1,000th 3-pointer with the Mavericks in an April 10 game against Phoenix. He finished 3-of-7 from beyond the arc en-route to 17 points off the bench in the 115-90 win against the Suns.

    The 6-foot-2 guard is known for clutch plays of late. Terry recorded all 19 of his points in the fourth quarter in a game at Miami earlier this season. It marked the second-highest scoring total he’s posted in the fourth quarter of a game in his career. He has scored 10+ points in the fourth quarter 13 times this season, averaging 6.2 points in the fourth quarter.

    Center Brendan Haywood said Terry is a spark that can provide leadership with his pro experience.

    “Terry is a veteran,” Haywood said. “We always need his scoring because he’s a dynamic scorer and one of the better shooters in the game. That’s what we need him to do, be himself and come out there to give us that pop off the bench and instant energy.”

    When the Blazers arrive to the American Airlines Center Saturday, a team that Dallas split a 2-2 regular season series with, Nowitzki said it’s going to be a tough battle.

    “We’ll be ready,” Nowitzki said. “It should be a fun run.”

    NBA Playoff Round 1: No. 3 Dallas Mavericks (57-25) vs. No. 6 Portland Trail Blazers (48-34)

    Game 1

    Dallas vs. Portland

    When: 8:30 p.m. Saturday

    TV: ESPN

    Game 2

    Dallas vs. Portland

    When: 8:30 p.m. Tuesday

    TV: TNT

    Game 3

    Dallas at Portland

    When: 9:30 p.m. Thursday

    TV: TNT

    Game 4

    Dallas at Portland

    When: 4 p.m. April 23

    TV: TNT

    Game 5

    Dallas vs. Portland (if necessary)

    When: April 25 at TBD

    TV: TBD

    Game 6

    Dallas at Portland (if necessary)When: April 28 at TBD

    TV: TBD

    Game 7

    Dallas vs. Portland (if necessary)

    When: April 30 at TBD

    TV: TBD