Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Heat and the Mavs is tonight in Dallas. Each team features a former Atlanta Hawk point guard: Jason Terry for the Mavs and Mike Bibby for the Heat.
[Fun fact: Terry and Bibby also played alongside one another as teammates at the University of Arizona. The two led the Wildcats to an NCAA Championship in 1997.]
Terry was drafted by the Hawks in Round 1 as the 10th overall pick in 1999. He led the team in steals, assists and free throws in the 2000-2001 season and played with the team for five years before being traded to the Mavs in 2004 for Antoine Walker.
In February, Bibby, along with Jordan Crawford, Maurice Evans and a first round draft pick, was traded to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Kirk Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong. Shortly after, Bibby agreed to a buyout with the Wizards, giving up the remaining $6.2 million on his contract to go to the Heat for a chance at a ring. Well, now he’s got his chance.
How have the two former Hawks stacked up against one another thus far in the series?
In Game 1, Terry had 12 points, 1 rebound and 1 assist in 33 minutes compared to Bibby’s 3 assists and 2 steals in 14 minutes (he went 0-for-4 from the field).
In Game 2, Terry put up 16 points and 5 assists in 31 minutes, while Bibby had 14 points and 4 steals in 22 minutes for the Heat.
While Bibby has struggled from the field, it looks like Terry has gotten back into a groove. And just in time for the Mavs. Terry had earned a reputation as “the closer” due to his 4th quarter performances, but that role had been called into question in earlier playoffs. In Game 2, however, Dallas found itself down by fifteen with just over seven minutes to play and facing a potential 0-2 series deficit. With a flurry of eight points in just over three minutes, Terry equaled his scoring output from the first three quarters combined to fuel the team’s comeback.
Looks like Terry’s got Bibby beat so far in this series. And if “the closer” is in fact back, Dirk just may get his ring after all.