Rozier making the most of chance to play more


Rozier making the most of chance to play more

WALTHAM, Mass. – Terry Rozier wasn’t exactly Mr. Popularity around these parts when the Boston Celtics tabbed him with the 16th overall pick in last June’s NBA draft.

Fast forward nine months and the 6-foot-2 guard’s value couldn’t be any higher to the Celtics who will once again look to him to provide a spark off of what’s becoming an injury-riddled roster.

Boston will be without Evan Turner for Wednesday night’s game against New Orleans due to a left eye injury suffered in Sunday’s 107-100 win against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Turner’s absence, much like Jae Crowder (high ankle sprain) and Avery Bradley (personal) missing games recently, has created an opportunity for Rozier to see an increased role.

And to his credit, he has made the most of chance to play more having appeared in 11 of Boston’s last 12 games while seeing at least 10 minutes per game.

“Terry’s been very good for us,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “He’s continuing to feel more comfortable day to day.”

Adding a bit to the degree of difficulty for Rozier has been the non-stop changes within the lineups he has been on the floor with.

“When Terry is playing, we usually don’t have a Jae or an Evan in the case of tomorrow,” Stevens said.

One player who sees a decent amount of time on the floor with Terry has been second-year guard Marcus Smart. Pairing them together has given the Celtics a tenacious, physical tandem defensively off the bench that has shown tremendous potential lately.

“Terry’s very aggressive, athletic,” Smart said. “He’s a feisty little guard. Plus being in the backcourt with him, the tenacity I have … us together, that’s a good fit for us.”

Especially on defense where the Celtic’s defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) with them on the floor is 94.5 which his more than six points better than the team’s overall rating (100.7) this season.

Rozier has also been particularly impressive rebounding the ball from the backcourt.

In fact, Rozier’s 10.1 rebounds per 48 minutes trails only Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (10.8) among all NBA point guards this season.

“Rebounding-wise,” Stevens said, “He adds to our team and our team needs that.”

To see Rozier rebound at a high level has not been a surprise to Stevens.

“We’ve know that since we drafted him,” Stevens said. “That was something that was talked about in the draft room and all workouts. He’s always had an elite ability to chase down balls and rebound above the rim.”

Well aware that it was a strength of his in college, Rozier is simply trying to provide help in an area that the Celtics could use a boost.

“I’m not trying to step on anybody’s toes. I’m not trying to be a hero of the team,” Rozier said recently. “I’m just trying to work my way into it. That’s part of it, just trying to be an extra body off the bench to try and help this team.”


NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Reserve-heavy Celtics keep at it, top Trail Blazers

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Reserve-heavy Celtics keep at it, top Trail Blazers

1:13 - The Celtics came away with a 105-100 win in Portland on Friday night. Find out why Chris Mannix is calling this the best Celtics win of the season.

6:05 - Mannix discusses details about Kyrie Irving’s ‘minimally invasive’ procedure on his knee and what his level of concern is with A. Sherrod Blakely and Gary Tanguay.

10:03 - Michael Holley and Tom Curran discuss what NFL players, including Devin McCourty, are doing beyond the gridiron by being active in criminal justice reform discussions held at Harvard this week.



Morris getting it done for Celtics on both ends of the floor

Morris getting it done for Celtics on both ends of the floor

When you think about Marcus Morris these days, big-time scoring immediately comes to mind. 

But in Boston’s 105-100 comeback win over Portland, Morris’ contributions went beyond the game-high 30 points he dropped on the Blazers.

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“Coach (Brad Stevens) is doing a great job of getting me the ball in my spots and my teammates are finding me,” Morris told reporters after the win. “And I’m just coming through.”

He’s providing strong play and a tremendous presence at both ends of the floor which has been critical to the team navigating some choppy waters with a number of regular rotation players – namely Kyrie Irving – out with injuries.

“One thing is, he’s healthy,” said Boston’s Al Horford, referring to the sore knee that limited Morris earlier this season and at times forced him to miss games. “And the other is, he’s just more confident, he’s playing very assertive. He’s playing great right now, in a really good rhythm.”

Said Stevens: “That’s been him (Morris). As he’s continued to feel better; I think physically he’s felt as good as he’s felt. He’s comfortable in our system and we need him to score. If you’re a basketball player and your job is to score, that’s a pretty good job.”

And it’s one that even with all the injuries Boston has played through, few envisioned him being such an integral part of the offense. 

Morris’ calling card prior to arriving in Boston was his defense. 

But Morris has made it known that his focus on the floor is to be as complete a player as possible.

“I’m not trying to just limit myself to just being that scorer,” Morris said. “Also, on the defensive end I think I’m bringing it; my defense has gotten a lot better, especially my on-the-ball defense. I’m trying to be that all-around player and not just an offensive player … but I can score.”