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Nearly a Jazzman, Terry leads Mavericks

Dallas guard paces team but fades down the stretch

On the night the Utah Jazz fans saw their future at point guard — in the person of first round draft pick Deron Williams — they got a glimpse of what might have been at the position.

Jason Terry, in the summer of 2003, signed to become a member of the Jazz.

The Seattle native who played college ball at Arizona, was set to return to the West — and to try to fill the enormous shoes of John Stockton — after playing his first four years in the league for the Atlanta Hawks.

But Terry was a restricted free agent, meaning the Hawks had the right to match the Jazz offer. They did, and Terry was stuck playing for one of the NBA's worst teams for one more year.

Before last season, however, the Hawks traded Terry to one of the best teams in the league, the Dallas Mavericks. With talented teammates surrounding him, Terry's scoring went down a year ago, but wins were much more plentiful.

Wednesday night in the Delta Center, Terry carried the Mavericks in the first half with 19 points on a variety of jumpers and drives to the basket.

But he was mostly a non-factor after halftime — scoring just one bucket — as the Jazz rallied for a 93-82 victory in the Delta Center.

"I wanted to come out and play with energy early and be aggressive," said Terry, who was 9-for-12 from the floor in the opening half. "I tried to carry it over into the second half. It just didn't happen."

"We couldn't get (Terry) going in the second half," said Mavericks coach Avery Johnson. "He was still aggressive, but they were trapping him and getting the ball out of his hands."

Both Terry and Johnson, himself a fine point guard during his playing days, had good things to say about the Jazz rookie.

Williams "is just not flashy," said Johnson. "He's an old-school basketball player and I like guys like that. He gave us some problems." Added Terry, "(Williams) played well. He played under control. He hit some big shots.' "

Ex-Ute star and current Maverick Keith Van Horn was equally impressed.

"He's very good," said Van Horn of Williams. "He's a little bit quicker than a lot of people realize. He's a very good shooter and once he gets into the swing of things, he's going to be a very good passer."

The Mavericks, who won a double-overtime thriller in Phoenix on Tuesday night, led after each of the first three quarters, but ran out of gas and failed to put the Jazz away.

"They got stops in the fourth quarter and we didn't get it done," said Terry. "Give them credit."

Terry, for his part, seemed to be looking forward to a rematch with the Jazz in general and Williams in particular.

"We'll see him again," he said.


E-mail: lojo@desnews.com