Celtics

Rozier's first career triple-double powers Celtics over Knicks

Rozier's first career triple-double powers Celtics over Knicks

BOSTON – Before they went on to the floor, Daniel Theis was joking with Terry Rozier about throwing him a lob pass, something both acknowledged Rozier had not done this season. 

Before the night was out, the two connected on an above-the-rim finish which as it turned out, was one of the many plays Rozier made in helping lead Boston to a decisive 103-73 win.

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That play stands out because, of all the good things that Rozier did, it was his play-making that was the big revelation in his triple-double night of 17 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists with the rebound and assists numbers both being career highs. 

“The fact that he’s hitting guys at the right times, and that’s what I meant when I said he was being very assertive,” said Boston’s Al Horford. “He was coming off to score the ball, he’s looking for guys and making the right plays. That shows a lot of growth from him and I hope he takes this and keeps on growing. When he’s assertive like that, he’s a totally different player.”

And that difference had a lot to do with Rozier starting the game. 

In the first quarter, Rozier probed the defense which all but dared him to take perimeter shots. 

He did, and in doing so made them pay to the tune of 11 first-quarter points.

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The defense adjusted and Rozier did the same by getting his teammates more involved and doing what he always does – rebound the ball. 

“Just worked out perfect for me,” Rozier said. “Got to knock down shots at the beginning of the game, hit the open man, I’m always going to get in there and rebound. It was just a great night.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens knew before the game that Rozier was going to get ample playing time to make an impact. 

In addition to filling in for Kyrie Irving who was out because of a right quadriceps injury suffered at Denver on Monday, Boston was also without Shane Larkin who is still experiencing knee soreness and Marcus Smart who will be out for at least another week because of a non-basketball related laceration to his right (shooting) hand. 

“When I got the update on Shane I was pretty sure he’d play 48 minutes,” said Stevens, referring to Rozier. “He did a couple of things that he hasn’t done before with regard to the lob and a couple of the looks that he made, I thought, really quickly. He’s done them before but he made them very, very consistently tonight.

Stevens added, “It was good to see him play well. I’m happy for him. He deserves it.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 103-73 blowout win against the New York Knicks. 

 

STARS

Terry Rozier: Making his first NBA start, Rozier delivered in a big, big way for the Celtics. The 6-foot-2 guard tallied his first career triple-double with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists – his rebound and assists totals were both career highs.

 

STUDS

Enes Kanter: The New York Knicks big man had a double-double by halftime before finishing wit 17 points and 17 rebounds. 

Marcus Morris: Boston may have found that necessary scoring spark off the bench with Morris. He was as efficient scoring the ball as we’ve seen him this season, leading the Celtics with 20 points on 6-for-9 shooting in just three quarters of play (he suffered a left hip injury late in the third and did not return).

Kristaps Porzingis: This was not one of his better games, but Porzingis did more than enough to remind all in attendance why he’s an all-star this season. He had 16 points for the Knicks on 7-for-18 shooting.

Al Horford: The Celtics big man did a little bit of everything for Boston – including running some at the point. And the end result was a very Horford-like night with contributions coming in several categories. He had 14 points on 6-for-12 shooting to go with nine rebounds and five assists along with two steals.

 

DUDS

Second half Knicks: They played the night before against Brooklyn, which may have been a factor in them showing no signs of fight or resistance to the Celtics’ second half surge which featured Boston scoring more points in the third quarter (31) than the Knicks scored in the entire second half (28).

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Irving, Horford give seal of approval to All-Star changes

Irving, Horford give seal of approval to All-Star changes

LOS ANGELES -- Kyrie Irving and Al Horford were on different teams for the NBA's All-Star game pitting Team LeBron vs Team Steph, so somebody was coming back a loser.

But considering how competitive the game was for longer stretches than usual, both players came away feeling good in a relatively close All-Star game that ended with Team LeBron edging Team Steph, 148-145.

LeBron James led all scorers with 29 points along with 10 rebounds and 8 assists and walked away with Game MVP honors for the third time.

Irving, who played for Team LeBron, had a near double-double with 13 points and nine assists along with seven rebounds.

And Horford, who came off the bench for Team Steph, had six points and five rebounds along with two assists.  

“This was pretty fun,” Irving said. “I think that we showcased that tonight with an incredible competitive spirit. The game was kind of getting away, but I think a few of us took it a little personal that we wanted to keep the game still competitive and at a high level. Fans and everyone across so many different countries want to see the best players in the world showcase their talent.”

Horford echoed similar sentiments about the game, which had a different format this year. LeBron James and Stephen Curry picked the two teams from the 22-player pool of players from both the Eastern and Western Conferences.

“Early, guys were making [defensive] plays,” Horford said. “Guys were making a point, they weren’t going to let it be a dunk fest.

Horford added, “Even last year and the year before, there was a lot of heat on how bad the game was. I felt like this game was, it was good.”

Irving, a five-time All-Star, also acknowledged how he and some of the players wanted to change the perception of the All-Star Game as being nothing more than a glorified lay-up line.

“I think we all took it kind of personal,” Irving said. “Individually we wanted to come out and be competitive. Last year it was (192-182), that’s just not as fun as communicating with guys that you don’t necessarily play with every single day, bouncing ideas off in the time-outs. It’s just that competitive fire that we all share.”

And then there’s the payday for winning.

Not only will various charities benefit from the game -- LeBron James’ charity of choice gets $350,000 because his team won and Steph Curry’s charity of choice gets $150,000 -- but the players on the winning team get a pretty nice check as well.

The winning team members each get $100,000 while the players on the losing team come away with $25,000.

“There was something that, something that we could look forward to if we got the win,” Irving acknowledged. “You know, they’ll probably bring up the cash prize, but . . . $100,000 to $25,000, I think everybody in this room would be doing the same things we were doing.”

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LeBron James savors first opportunity to build NBA roster

lebron_allstargame_2018.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Photo

LeBron James savors first opportunity to build NBA roster

LOS ANGELES – LeBron James had been mum on the process he used in selecting Team LeBron … until now.

Following Team LeBron’s 148-145 win over Team Steph, James revealed how he went about assembling is roster which included Boston’s Kyrie Irving who asked for a trade out of Cleveland last summer.

“I took Kevin (Durant) first, then I took (New Orleans) Anthony Davis, and I followed that with Kyrie and DeMarcus (Cousins).”

While this year’s all-star game had been billed as the ultimate pick-up game, it was clear that James put a tremendous amount of thought into assembling his team akin to what an NBA General Manager might do.

“I know who I like watching and I had a draft board,” James said. “I had a process. Some of it went to … it almost went according to plan. A couple of them fell through, but I was satisfied and happy with all the guys that I got.”

A reporter later asked James where was this draft board.

“Ain’t none of your business,” said James, grinning. “You’re going too far, man.”

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