BOSTON -- For most of this first-round series, one of the most intriguing subplots has been the war of words between Boston’s Terry Rozier and Milwaukee’s Eric Bledsoe.
It began with Rozier mistakenly referring to Bledsoe as “Drew” Bledsoe, the former quarterback of the New England Patriots.
After Rozier had 23 points in Boston’s Game 2 win, Bledsoe was asked about Rozier.
“Who? I don’t know who the (bleep) that is,” Bledsoe said at the time.
CELTICS 92, BUCKS 87
And ever since then, you got the sense that at some point, tempers would boil over.
Their chippy talk led to some chippy action in the third quarter of Boston’s 92-87 Game 5 win on Tuesday night.
With Boston with the ball and leading 52-39, Rozier and Bledsoe exchanged a pair of shoulder bumps, the last of which, from Bledsoe, knocked Rozier towards the baseline out of bounds. That led to Rozier grabbing Bledsoe and tossing him towards official Pat Fraher.
After reviewing the incident, Rozier was called for a technical foul, and Bledsoe was hit with a flagrant-1 penalty that awarded Rozier and the Celtics two free throws and they maintained possession of the ball.
Al Horford was on the floor at the time of the Rozier-Bledsoe dust-up.
“Yeah, emotions are running high, Game 5, both teams are going for it and for our group the biggest thing is just to focus on basketball,” Horford said. “Keep playing and not getting caught up in all of that side stuff.”
Rozier readily admits that this series has become a bit more testy with each passing game, a byproduct of two highly competitive teams wanting the same thing -- to move on to the next round of play.
“That’s why I never overreact,” Rozier told NBC Sports Boston after the game. “Where I’m from, this is normal. That’s why I say, we’re out there having fun; two teams that just want to win. It’s all fun to me.”
And as far as the third quarter incident involving him and Bledsoe, Rozier shrugged it off as not being that big a deal.
“It’s just him being aggressive,” said Rozier who like Bledsoe, finished with 16 points in Game 5. “It’s all good; it’s part of basketball.”