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2011 NBA FINALS GAME 4: Better Bench. Or Else.

Simple. If their reserve players don't perform better, the Mavericks will lose the NBA Finals.

And that starts tonight in Game 4 at the American Airlines Center. Jason Terry has to be more productive than the player who has shot only 38 percent and failed to produce a 20-point game.

But who gives a rat's ass what I say? Dirk Nowitzki, your thoughts?

"Jet hasn't really been a crunch-time, clutch player for us the way we need him to."

Ouch.

It isn't, of course, just Terry.

The Mavs' bench, which averaged 39 points per game in the playoffs' first three rounds, is mustering only 21 against Miami's stifling defense. Their combined scoring edge through three games is only 65-57. That's 65 points in three games, from a bench that scored 86 in a single game -- Game 4 -- against the Lakers.

Peja Stojakovic has yet to hit a 3-pointer in 26 feeble Finals minutes.

Terry's been shut down, if not out, by LeBron James' defense, which held him without a fourth-quarter point in Games 1 and 3.

And, let's face it, J.J. Barea is getting his ass handed to him by Mario Chalmers.

Miami's backup point guard hit four 3-pointers in Game 3. In the series Chalmers is outscoring Barea by a whopping 33-13.

Without Caron Butler and with Roddy Beaubois not a viable option after not playing in the postseason, head coach Rick Carlisle's options are limited. If Peja isn't making his outside shots and if Barea isn't finishing his drives into the lane with made layups, they are both defensive liabilities.

In other words, Dirk is right. Jason Terry, the time is now.

"We're going to come out in Game 4 like it's Game 7," Terry said Sunday night.

Would have loved for Dallas to play Game 3 like Game 7, but oh well, better late than never.


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