Loquacious Boston Celtics guard Jason Terry lobbed the latest volley in the back-and-forth exchange with LeBron James on Friday, asserting that the Heat “put [James] on me to shut me down in the NBA Finals in 2011, and he couldn’t get the job done. Hopefully, he’ll have another chance this year in the Eastern Conference finals or wherever we match up.”
Terry has taken several jabs at the Heat in the past couple years, including saying last week that he is “not really impressed” with the Heat’s winning streak “or anything they do.”
Then, after James dunked over Terry in Monday’s game in Boston, James said: “It was one of my better ones. And the fact that it happened to JT made it even that much sweeter. Because I think we all know that JT talks, and he talks too much sometimes, and I’m glad it happened to him.”
Asked Friday if his issue is with the Heat or James, Terry told WEEI radio in Boston: “It’s not even LeBron. It’s just the Miami Heat personally. Is it the red and black? Maybe, I hate that color. I just don’t like them.
“It goes back to ’05-’06. It doesn’t matter who’s in those Miami Heat uniforms. … [Terry’s Dallas Mavericks] were up 2-0, and [the Heat] come back and win four straight games and you lose the NBA Finals.
“So LeBron inherited something bigger than the matchup of he and I. It’s about the Miami Heat and that organization. He picked his poison.”
Terry added: “I’d love to see Miami in the playoffs so we can roll through the champions. We’re fired up. We would love that matchup. You know at some point — I don’t want to say that it’s fixed — I think it’s going to happen. We are going to see them, and it’s going to be fireworks.
“I’m telling you right now, I love us, I love the way we’re built. We miss Rajon Rondo, we miss Jared Sullinger, but with this team we have, we have a chance.”
The Celtics and Chicago entered Friday tied for the sixth and seventh spots in the Eastern Conference, two games ahead of No.8 Milwaukee. The Heat will play the No. 8 seed in the first round and, if it advances, the winner of the 4-5 matchup in the second round.
WIN STREAK TALK
Coach Erik Spoelstra hasn’t mentioned the winning streak to his players, but he said people have been mentioning it to him.
“Friends, family they don’t. They know me better,” Spoelstra said before Friday night’s game. “Everybody else does. It’s not a taboo subject. I’m not walking around saying, ‘You can’t talk about it. That’s not allowed in this building.’ ”
Spoelstra said he “mistakenly put on the TV when I was on the road. I wanted to see some college highlights to get my bracket ready. ESPN was on and already they were talking about [Heat] games that could happen of significance 10 days from now.
“That’s most the dangerous thing in this league, playing for a future that is unknowable and when the most important time is right now.”
Before the game, Spoelstra emphasized the need for his players to be sharper at the outset of games in the wake of slow starts in Boston and Cleveland earlier this week.
“We did not come out with the proper energy, focus, disposition,” he said. “You allow teams confidence. When teams get confident, they get aggressive, you can turn them into beasts and you can’t control them.
“We want to set the tone from the beginning. These teams are dangerous. These are teams either urgent, desperate for a playoff [berth], or teams with nothing to lose, no pressure.”
• The Heat signed Juwan Howard for the remainder of the season following the expiration of his 10-day contract. “He brings credible veteran leadership — it’s tangible, it’s real,” Spoelstra said. “It felt off not having him around” earlier this season.