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Jason Terry delivers (again) in the clutch

Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Jason Terry (31) reacts

Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Jason Terry (31) reacts after scoring three points against the Phoenix Suns during the second half of an NBA basketball game. (Jan. 4, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

Before Mr. Big Shot, Chauncey Billups, drained a three with one second left last night to lift the Clippers over the Mavericks, 92-91, Dallas nailed a three of its own to take a two-point lead.

The shooter? Mr. Bigger Shot, Jason Terry.

Since moving to the Dallas bench in the 2007-08 season, Terry has been remarkably consistent. He has averaged between 17 and 21 points per 36 minutes each season, has shot between 43.8 percent and 46.7 from the field, and between 36.2 percent and 37.5 percent from three.

His player efficiency rating has shrunk, though. It peaked in 2008-09 at 19.3, but was at its lowest since his rookie season last year at 15.9.

In the clutch? Different story.

The trusty 82games.com has a method of measuring NBA players' performances in the clutch. Their "clutch stats," found here, are defined as numbers accrued in the "fourth quarter or overtime, [with] less than five minutes left, [and] neither team ahead by more than five points."

Terry, in these situations, has been a dynamo.

Last season, 18 players averaged at least 35 points per 48 minutes of "clutch time," led by Kobe Bryant (49.8 points), Derrick Rose (47.8 points) and Mo Williams (45.5 points). Of those 18 players, Terry (who averaged 38.3 points) was one of two -- Eric Gordon the other -- to shoot at least 50 percent from the field. He was also one of five to shoot over 40 percent from three.

Terry, who is a free agent in the offseason, wasn't bad in the 2009-10 season -- 25th in the league at 29.8 points per 48 minutes of clutch on 43.6 percent shooting -- and was exceptional in the 2008-09 season -- 12th at 36.9 points on 55.2 percent shooting.

Granted, Dallas was, as a team, incredibly good in these situations. As Chuck Cooperstein, the radio play-by-play announcer for the Mavs, pointed out last night, Dallas was 52-22 the last three seasons in games decided by five or less points. And last season, in 82games.com's clutch situations, Jason Kidd, Terry, Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler were 1-2-3-4 in the league in plus/minus (+119, +118, +116, +92).

Still, since 82games.com started measuring these numbers in 2007-08, only two players -- Kidd last season, and LeBron James in 2007-08 (+141) -- had a better single-season plus/minus in clutch situations than Terry did last year.

And total? Terry was fourth in the league from the 2007-08 season to 2010-11 in clutch plus/minus. The top five:

1. James, +406
2. Nowitzki, +316
3. Kidd, +286
4. Terry, +285
5. Anderson Varejao, +237

In my initial 2012 NBA free agent rankings, I had Terry 49th in the league, sandwiched between Toney Douglas and Shannon Brown. Clearly, Terry's penchant for big performances in the clutch will merit a boost at some point . . . particularly ahead of these two under-performers.

The shot:

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