It’s become a Jason Terry tradition to shoot and run and drive during the first three quarters to little effect, only to emphatically arrive in the fourth quarter. Last night’s game is only one such example; JET is nothing if not timely, and has been an effective clutch scorer (and as is frequently forgotten, passer) during his entire tenure with the Mavs. He emerges for the fourth of every game with his belly full of a magical elixir, some fluid or ether that turns clanks into swishes. These instances lie beyond explanation; JET goes through the same motions, from the hesitation on his dribble to the crispness of his pull-up jumper. Everything is absolutely the same except in the one way that truly matters, and any man who can deduce a logical reason as to why deserves a bronzed bust in some hall with all of the world’s other great thinkers.
How do you explain why his shots suddenly start falling in the fourth? It’s not a question of effort, or even intelligent execution. Terry is the same player throughout, but the first three frames are part of a process, and the final one is the consummation of his worldly — and otherworldly — duty. There is an amazement that comes with watching Kobe Bryant pivot his way into brilliance or Tim Duncan cover every second of a screen-and-roll. Those are amazing feats accomplished by champions of men. But during every phase of execution, they’re still fathomable. Terry’s clutch performances, juxtaposed against his struggles throughout the rest of certain games, aren’t even remotely fathomable.
Terry is something supernatural. A reaper, perhaps, come to collect lost souls at the very end. Any man’s death diminishes him, because he is involved in mankind. Never send to know for whom Terry’s bell tolls; it tolls for thee. Call him a ghost through the first three quarters if you will, but his very presence in the fourth marks death. He isn’t an assassin, just the natural order of life itself, a process which cannot be explained or denied other than the fact that it just is.