Celtics

Extra practice has Rozier feeling confident

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Extra practice has Rozier feeling confident

BOSTON - Having missed all of last week with a knee injury, Brad Stevens said before Monday's game that it was going to be an "especially important" week for Terry Rozier.

Well, Rozier got off to a good start on Monday.

Rozier led the team in points (16) and minutes (27:30) in the Celtics' 111-105 win over the Nets at the TD Garden, Rozier's first game in a building he hopes to call his home for years to come. He added four rebounds, six assists, and four steals, turning the ball over just once.

Rozier called his performance just "OK", following it up by saying he didn't play that well but improved in the second half.

The knee, however, felt fine.

Having missed the last two games, there was a thought that Rozier could be a little winded out there. That wasn't the case, and in fact Brad Stevens thought Rozier could have played another 20 minutes while commenting on how quick he looked on the court.

"His quickness to the ball on defense; I thought he got to loose balls multiple times," Stevens said. "Got balls off the floor. Pushed the pace offensively. I'd say that those were the two things [that stuck out]. I'd say defensively as far as how he guarded, he did much better in the second half, and the whole time he was in his tempo was really good."

Another thing that stood about Rozier's night? He shot 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. The NBA three-point line is a little further than NCAA's three-point line, but that adjustment hasn't seemed to affect Rozier negatively. He's 6-for-8 through three preseason games. There's a reason for that.

"You get out what you put in. I put in a lot of work shooting threes," Rozier said. "A lot of people said that's what I was going to struggle with, that's probably not my best thing. So that's something that I always worked on even early I went to the practice gym and got up a lot of shots with my friends. So you get out what you put in. I worked on it so it's starting to carry over to the game. So that's the most important thing."

With Stevens and the Celtics focusing more on the three-ball this season, the extra practice and confidence that Rozier has in his outside shot is just another reason why we may see him on the court more than we originally thought this early on.

Kyrie's injury doesn't appear to be long-term, Morris' knee another story

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Kyrie's injury doesn't appear to be long-term, Morris' knee another story

The quad injury that will keep Kyrie Irving off the floor tonight against Chicago doesn’t appear to be a long-term issue.

The knee bruise that had Al Horford’s availability in question - NBC Sports Boston's Abby Chin says he will play tonight - isn’t a serious thing, either.

But it’s unclear just how big a deal Marcus Morris’ left knee issue is going forward.

Prior to Sunday’s 91-81 win at Detroit, the Pistons announced that Morris would miss that game as well as tonight’s matchup against Chicago.

A Yahoo Sports! report said that Morris will miss “extended time” due to the left knee injury that has resulted in him missing 13 games which includes tonight’s game.

“Just like I said the other day, when we found out that he wasn’t feeling as good, we decided that he wasn’t going to play in these two games, we’ll re-evaluate it tomorrow with our docs,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters prior to tonight’s game against Chicago. “That meeting has already been scheduled.”

Morris missed the first eight games of the season to give the left knee soreness a chance to heal and not be as sore. The Celtics began him with a minutes restriction, and increased his playing time gradually while not allowing him to play in back-to-back games.

And this latest flare-up comes at a time when Morris seemed to find a groove at both ends of the floor while providing Boston with some much-needed offensive punch off the bench.

“He played so well against Philly and Phoenix … I thought he looked really good,” Stevens said. “Played that Monday against Milwaukee and then missed the Dallas game, it’s just been kind of going back and forth. And it’s what we said from the get-go, we didn’t want that to happen. But we’ve got to figure it out for him so that he feels great.”

The Chicago Bulls will be short-handed as well tonight.

In addition to Zach LaVine (left ACL) and Cameron Payne (right foot), Chicago will also be without rookie Lauri Markkanen (back spasms) who is averaging 14.3 points and 7.9 rebounds which ranks fifth and second, respectively, among rookies this season.

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Irving out, Horford questionable for C's vs Bulls

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Irving out, Horford questionable for C's vs Bulls

We have seen the Boston Celtics reach deep into their bench this season, but nothing like what we’ll see tonight against the Chicago Bulls.

Along with Gordon Hayward (left ankle fracture) who is out for the season and Marcus Morris (left knee rehabilitation) who was ruled out for tonight’s game prior to last night’s win at Detroit, the Celtics will be without at least one of their two remaining all-star players.

Kyrie Irving has been ruled out due to a left quad contusion. And Al Horford, who briefly went to the Celtics’ locker room after a knee-to-knee collision with Pistons forward Anthony Tolliver, is question for tonight’s game with a right knee contusion.

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Horford was able to return to the Celtics’ lineup following the knee-on-knee blow, finishing with a near double-double of 18 points and nine rebounds to go with six assists.

If both Irving and Horford are unable to go, that leaves Boston void of its best scorer (Irving) and most complete player (Horford).

You have to wonder in the case of Horford, whether tonight’s opponent may factor in the decision to sit him or not.

Chicago (5-20) has the worst record in the NBA this season. And while the Celtics respect all opponents, if they are going to give guys some “strategic rest” in season, this would qualify as one of those nights considering the opponent in addition to knowing there won’t be any practice or a game tomorrow (the Celtics, like most teams, take the day off when they play back-to-back games).

We know Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and most likely Aron Baynes will be in the starting lineup. Beyond that, you're probably looking at Marcus Smart or Terry Rozier filling in for Irving, while Horford’s possible replacement will likely be from the trio of Daniel Theis, Semi Ojeleye or potentially Guerschon Yabusele.

Smart (four starts, 3-1 record) and Theis (two starts, 2-0 record) are the only ones from that group to have been in the starting lineup this season. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE