BOSTON – Let’s face it. The way the Boston Celtics’ second unit has shot the ball this season, somebody was due for a breakout performance.
On Friday night it was Terry Rozier who scored a career-high 23 points in helping Boston get back on a winning track with a 118-103 victory that wasn’t anywhere close to what the final score might indicate.
Boston had five players reach double figures scoring, but arguably the most significant one of the bunch was Rozier.
A 33.7 percent shooter from the field and just 32.6 percent on 3’s this season, Rozier was Jacuzzi-hot from the floor on Saturday, connecting on 8-of-11 shots from the field along with five made 3-pointers.
While Rozier isn’t known as a lethal shooter, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens’ confidence in Rozier as a shooter remained strong heading into the game regardless of what his shooting percentage might suggest.
“Law of averages will play themselves out with him,” Stevens said. “He’s a really good shooter; made some big ones in a lot of different games this year. We want him to be ready to fire when he catches it.”
And he was on Friday, providing the kind of offensive punch that Boston’s second unit desperately needs more of this season.
“Any way you put it, I’m going to keep shooting,” Rozier said. “I’m going to keep playing. I’m not perfect. I’m going to have tough games. I’ll have games like this.
Rozier added, “It feels good to get points as a unit, and like said you just want to keep building off of it, and not lose sight of our team mantra, which is playing defense.”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 118-103 win over Orlando.
Despite playing in just the first three quarters, Irving still did plenty of damage in leading all scorers with 30 points on an efficient 9-for-15 shooting while also tallying four rebounds, three assists and a steal.
The bench has come under heat lately for a lack of production. Rozier showed the second unit does have some life offensively as he lit the Magic up for a career-high 23 points which included five made 3-pointers which was also a career-high.
His ability to play the role of a facilitator was on display early on Friday night as he tallied seven of his game-high 10 assists in the first quarter.
There wasn’t a lot to cheer about for the Magic, but that shouldn’t take away from what was a solid game for Vucevic who had a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Orlando’s desire to “play tough”
Before the game, the Magic talked about the need to be a more physical, tougher team. And after getting pummeled by the Celtics for most of Friday night’s game, the need to be tougher was once again the narrative of choice.
“Show more toughness; show more fight,” said Magic head coach Frank Vogel after the loss.
“We weren’t physical enough,” said Orlando’s Terrence Ross.
“Just not being physical enough, not being tough enough defensively, way too comfortable” was how Magic forward Aaron Gordon described his team’s play. It’s great that they recognize what’s clearly an area of weakness. Up next? Do something other than talk about it.