Jason Terry

New Celtic Jason Terry already hates Heat, Lakers


Jason Terry loves being a Celtic.

He’s getting fresh Celtics ink. He’s hanging with the fine folks of Boston and working on the accent. He’s having fun in a city that embraces its basketball team like few others.

Oh, and he’s hating the Heat and Lakers.

Terry is blogging his experiences this season for ESPNBoston.com and authored this:

It didn’t take me long to embrace being a Celtic. I hate whoever they hate. The Lakers are number one up there and the Heat aren’t too far behind. Doc tells us every day to think about the Heat. Not only does he tell us, but the film plays over and over if you go to the practice facility. Before practice and after practice, that series [2012 Eastern Conference Finals] is playing over and over on the television.

The Celtics/Lakers rivalry is the NBA gold standard, because it stretches back more than 50 years and one of those teams wins a ring in half those seasons.

But the Lakers are the problem the Celtics hope to have to deal with. Doc Rivers is spot on — the Heat are the first hurdle between Boston and its goal. Boston’s roster is put in place to match up with the Heat and would give them a challenge. But still, they have to get there and be ready for a Heat team that beat them last year and will be better this time around. Doc gets it.

And Terry gets it. And he gets being a Celtics.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at NBA.com.

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.