Veteran Rockets point guard Jason Terry is baffled by his team’s mediocre season, according to Jenny Dial Creech of the Houston Chronicle. Their outings late last week, when they upset the Spurs on Christmas night and then were defeated by the last-place Pelicans the following evening, provide a perfect backdrop to Terry’s befuddlement, Creech continues. “It’s a wake-up call to have a performance like we did against San Antonio and then come back and follow that up with a poor performance against a New Orleans team that has struggled all season,” Terry told Creech. “That was a big step backwards. We have to stop playing in these spurts. It is frustrating but it also makes me optimistic because I know what we are capable of doing.” Interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff sees Terry as part of the solution and plans to give him steady minutes after shuffling his point guard rotation, Fran Blinebury of NBA com reports. “I just feel like we need him on the floor,” Bickerstaff said. “There’s times where he needs the rest, obviously. But big moments in big games, he’s one of the guys that I trust the most.”
In other news around the Southwest Division:
- Pelicans star power forward Anthony Davis is frustrated with his team’s spotty effort, Andrew Lopez of the New Orleans Times-Picayune writes. Davis vented to Lopez after the team’s loss to the Magic on Monday. “We just don’t play hard all the time,” he said. “That starts with our first unit coming out and setting the pace and setting the tone for the rest of the game and setting the tone for the guys that sub in, especially after halftime. That’s kind of been our thing this year. It starts with the first unit and it starts with me.”
- Wesley Matthews and Chandler Parsons are rounding to form for the Mavericks after their extensive rehab from major injuries, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com reports. Matthews, who was signed to a four-year, $70M contract during the offseason while recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, is averaging 15.2 points and making 41.2% of his 3-point attempts in December. Parsons, who underwent microfracture knee surgery, has averaged 14.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists the past three games after having his minutes restrictions lifted, MacMahon continues. “Both of these guys stated very clearly when their injuries happened that their goal was not only to be back, but to be back better than before,” coach Rick Carlisle told MacMahon and other media members. “To do that, it’s going to be a long-term proposition. … They’re both doing well. And they’ll do better and better and better as the season goes along.”
- The Spurs assigned point guard Ray McCallum to their D-League affiliate in Austin, the team’s website announced. McCallum, who is averaging 1.6 points in 7.1 minutes in 13 appearances with San Antonio, has already appeared in five games with Austin.