ATLANTA – When Avery Bradley is on the floor, there’s always at least one set of eyes on him at all times.
They belong to Terry Rozier, whose game in many ways is similar to that of Bradley.
The Boston Celtics certainly hope that plays out in the coming days now that Bradley and the strained right hamstring injury he suffered on Saturday night will keep him out of Game 2 and potentially the entire series against the Atlanta Hawks.
The Celtics will look to fill the void left by Bradley’s injury by committee with there being a very good chance that Rozier’s minutes will increase with Bradley out.
“I feel like it’s just been the story of my life,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “I don’t wish anything (bad) on anybody, my team or the opposing team, but I think this has always been the success story of my life whether it’s regular season, tournament, playoffs, whatever. I just have to step up and play hard.”
When Rozier was at the University of Louisville, teammate Chris Jones was dismissed which forced the Cardinals to play Rozier more at the point guard position.
Rozier said a similar coming-of-age moment happened when he was in high school as well.
But he’s smart enough to know that just because it worked out for him earlier, doesn’t guarantee he’ll like the results from Game 2.
“College, high school, all my life,” Rozier said. “Just have to stay focused. Just because it happened all my life, doesn’t mean I’ll do good now. I just have to take care of the little things before I started thinking about anything big.”
You can count Evan Turner among those who likes the growth he has seen in Rozier who was selected by Boston with the 16th overall pick in last June’s NBA draft.
“I thought he did some of his best moves down the stretch,” Turner said. “I think the last road game he played was versus the (Los Angeles) Lakers. I think he went in transition and made a euro move. I said ‘Congratulations, welcome to the league.’ It was like the first move he did since he’s been playing with us, that looked like a Terry move where he wasn’t thinking too much. I think this will be a great opportunity for his development.”
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens acknowledged Terry would be among the young players who have not seen much action, who would get serious consideration to being added to the playing mix with Bradley out.
The idea that some of his more seldom-used players would be preparing for Game 2 knowing they might play, isn’t all that surprising to Stevens.
“You prepare every day for those minutes,” Stevens said. “Whether you play in games or not.”
Previous injuries to Celtics regulars paved the way for rookies like Rozier, R.J. Hunter and Jordan Mickey to see more action than expected.
But there’s no time for worrying about that.
The Celtics have to make do with what they have to work with.
“We had a few guys down,” Turner said. “Now it’s all about stepping up and playing tough.”