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Looking back on Jason Terry vs. LeBron James

A dispatch from the work from home front.

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Six

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or maybe you’ve been in remote location in the desert going through a 12-day silent meditation program cut off from all outside communication, then you already know about the global pandemic COVID-19 aka coronavirus aka the ‘Rona. And you know that part of the social distancing method to help curb the exploding rate of transmission is the option of working from home.

If you’re working from home (with or without kids), we feel you, and we thank you for doing your part to help curb the spread of this pandemic.

Working from home has given some people free time to discuss....a lot of things on social media. We’ve seen people compile lists of their top-5 jobs, actors, athletes, movies, toasters, nail-clippers, vacations — look, the lists are endless.

On Wednesday, March 18th, we awoke to Jason Terry’s name trending on Twitter. Obviously my first thought — and undoubtedly a lot of you too — was that the ‘Rona had gotten our beloved JET. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case. JET’s name was trending because today is the 7th anniversary of the time LeBron James dunked on JET and subsequently caused a tsunami to materialize on the other side of the planet.

Look, that dunk and the stare down were legendary and disrespectful and beautiful. There is no denying that fact.

Now that we’ve established that LeBron’s dunk over JET caused the Earth’s axis to tilt by about 1.4 percent, let’s hit the rewind button to see if it also had some revenge behind it.

It’s 2011. You know the vibes.

The Dallas Mavericks have been on one of the most improbable playoff runs and are in the midst of a Finals rematch against LeBron’s Miami Heat. The series is tied 2-2 as Game 5 rolls around.

James was asked about Game 5 and his response was that this was the biggest game of his life, so yeah there was a palpable sense of pressure all around.

The series had featured four relatively low-scoring games, but Game 5 would change all of that as both teams surpassed the 100 point threshold. The Mavs would connect on 13 of 19 three-point attempts and this would be the story of the game, and really the story of this stroll down memory lane.

The bench for both Miami and Dallas came to play (40 points and 32 points respectively), but no one could’ve predicted JET’s 21 points, and certainly not the way he got there either. JET didn’t have the cleanest game, and Rick Carlisle was quick to yank him off the court at one point after a mental lapse resulted in a quick Miami score.

“Refocus. I’m putting you right back in.” These seven words would reverberate around JET’s head, and quite frankly those words and Carlisle’s decision to put JET back in changed the trajectory of Game 5, the Finals series, and the franchise’s history. JET checked back in about a minute after being removed, and proceeded to score 8 of his 21-points and added 2 crucial assists to finish with 6 dimes.

In the first three games of the Finals, JET was scoreless when LeBron was guarding him. Not a good look, obviously. But JET, whose shooting numbers had suffered significantly since his crazy numbers during the sweep of the Lakers, had started to find his stroke.

In the last few minutes of the 4th quarter, JET was locked in with LeBron guarding him. With LeBron being about 7 inches taller, catch-and-shoot jumpers weren't the move for JET, something which confounded him since catch-and-shoot jumpers were his bread and butter. Putting the ball on the floor helped JET to create enough space to create open shots, and he absolutely took advantage of this late in the game.

Both teams traded big shots and finally crossed the 100-point threshold. With about 35 seconds left, Dallas held a 105-101 lead and JET — ostensibly with Rick’s sage words reverberating in his head — hit a 28-foot shot that all but broke the Miami Heat.

With that shot and the Mavs’ eventual 112-103 Game 5 victory, Jason “JET” Terry was officially 1-0 v. LeBron James in the Finals.

You know the rest.

So, on March 18, 2013 when LeBron dunked JET into another realm, was LeBron thinking about Game 5 and, specifically, that 28-foot dagger shot JET made over him?

Maybe. I mean, if I were LeBron, that would be a major motivator.

It’s entirely possible to enjoy JET’s triumphant moment vs. LeBron while also enjoying the LeBron dunk on JET 2-years later. In these uncertain times, we have to hold on to significant NBA memories and both of those moments are significant.

Stay safe!