MILWAUKEE — Adjustment has been part of Jason Terry’s career, so his move to the Celtics’ starting lineup and his increased role defensively have been no problem.
In 11 games as a starter, Terry is shooting 53 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from the 3-point line as the Celtics gradually have improved offensively. Terry has impressed coach Doc Rivers with his polished mid-range game, a byproduct, Terry said, of working with all-time great George Gervin.
“Well the mid-range is my layup,” he said before the Celtics faced the Bucks at Bradley Center Saturday night. “It’s something I learned from George Gervin. I work out with him in the summertime and we don’t shoot any 3-pointers. We shoot all 2-point mid-range shots and a lot of time for me it’s about the footwork and, if I do it repetitiously, I’m just as confident in my mid-range as I am my layup.
“I’d much rather settle for the 10-foot, 15-foot shot, and that’s just been a strong suit of mine.”
Terry, a former Sixth Man of the Year, said he has no issue with starting.
“It’s something that obviously comes natural to me, but if I’m thrust back to the bench role, I’m ready to do that,” he said. “As long as I’m out there. That’s my motto.”
Rivers also said he’s impressed with Terry’s professionalism.
“He’s a pro, he’s been in the league for so long, I don’t think anything rattles him,” Rivers said. “He’s playing great with our starting lineup. I think he’d probably still rather come off the bench but Jason, he’s just going to do whatever he thinks we need. He never asks questions, he just does it.”
Courtney Lee was the original starting shooting guard, but he struggled at the beginning of the season.
“I think there’s a lot of veterans [who would rather come off the bench], but it’s unusual that [Terry] could clearly start on most teams,” Rivers said. “But I think he’s figured it out. But JT just wants to win. I think he feels that’s his best value if he could give the second unit firepower. Right now, we need him in the lineup, though.”
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The Celtics welcomed back rookie Kris Joseph from NBADL Maine and he returned Friday night to score his first 2 NBA points on free throws in the 96-78 win over Portland at TD Garden. He scored 51 points over two games with the Red Claws, gaining experience over the past two weeks.
The organization likes Joseph, a second-round pick from Syracuse, but with the number of small forwards on the roster, he wasn’t going to get much playing time. When Rajon Rondo was suspended for two games because of fighting with the Nets’ Kris Humphries, the Celtics needed an extra body.
“For sure, it was definitely a great experience going down there, it was a humbling experience as well,” Joseph said. “Just to be down there and being able to play and just realizing how blessed you are as a person, to even be able to do that. It was definitely worth it. Going back and forth, I have no problems with that.”
The Red Claws are younger players trying to crack an NBA roster, including Celtics No. 1 draft pick Fab Melo, who is averaging 8 points and 5.3 rebounds in three games.
Joseph said he enjoys the contrast between the Boston veterans and Maine’s youth.
“It’s fun; I don’t like to bring this up but [Maine teammate] Shelvin Mack, his Butler [team] beat us in the Sweet 16 a couple of years ago,” Joseph said. “It’s just fun to be able to see young guys like myself succeed and just try to grind and we’re all grinding together.”
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Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles pulled Samuel Dalembert and Tobias Harris out of the starting lineup and replaced them with ex-Celtic Marquis Daniels and Ekpe Udoh. Harris was 5 for 21 shooting in his past three games; Dalembert had scored 4 points in his past three games. Mike Dunleavy (knee) and Beno Udrih (ankle) were not available . . . Chris Wilcox (illness) and Jeff Green (right knee), both of whom left Wednesday’s loss to the Nets but returned for Friday’s win over Portland, were available.