Terry Rozier

Rozier's patience transforming into confidence with more opportunity

Rozier's patience transforming into confidence with more opportunity

BOSTON –  With all the upheaval the Boston Celtics were going through roster-wise during the offseason, you rarely heard Terry Rozier’s name come up.
 
While he was among the players available for the right deal, Rozier didn’t give it much thought.
 
He focused on what he could control which was getting his body in the best shape possible in addition to working on his perimeter shooting down in Miami with other NBA players with the goal being that it’ll be on display this season.
 
Rozier’s shooting numbers aren’t great.
 
From the field he has made 36.4 percent of his shots and from 3-point range he’s knocking down just 33.3 percent of his shots.

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But as we saw in Boston’s 95-94 win over Toronto on Sunday, often it’s not about making a bunch of shots but rather, making the big ones.
 
And Rozier did just that, converting a 4-point play at the very end of the second quarter only to top that with a 3-pointer near the end of the third that gave the Celtics a one-point going into the fourth which was a huge psychological lift for a Boston team that spent a good chunk of the first half and the third quarter for that matter, playing from behind.
 
With Marcus Smart fluctuating back and forth in the starting lineup due to injuries, Rozier gives some much-needed stability to the Celtics’ second unit.
 
Of Boston’s 14 games this season, Rozier has been the top scorer among the reserves six times – that’s more than any other Celtic player.
 
Through Rozier’s first two years in the league, his ability to pressure ball-handlers and his rebounding are what got him on the floor for Boston.
 
But considering all the changes the Celtics have made from a year ago, among the biggest is the need for an established scorer to come off the bench. And Rozier has made no secret about wanting – no, make that expecting – to be that player.

Even before the Celtics shook up their roster with major changes, Rozier was preparing himself for what he anticipated would be a more expanded role.
 
He was traveling across the country, putting himself through two and three workout sessions daily. His workouts included playing games at times against a mixture of NBA talent, ranging from teammate Kyrie Irving to Washington All-Star John Wall along with a couple of former Celtics in Kelly Olynyk and Jeff Green.
 
But more than an improved game, Rozier is making the most of an enhanced opportunity to showcase what he can do since Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas are gone to Detroit and Cleveland, respectively.
 
Rozier learned from both players.
 
Among the biggest lessons?
 
Patience.
 
Bradley was the last link to the previous Big Three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Bradley gradually saw his playing time increase to the point where he eventually replaced Allen in the starting lineup.
 
Boston traded for Isaiah Thomas from Phoenix, and initially had him coming off the bench. But an injury to Marcus Smart led to Thomas being inserted in the starting lineup and he never left.
 
So to a large degree, Rozier is playing with a much clearer mind about what he is tasked with doing, knowing that his opportunity to play will be coming every game. And that assurance has made Rozier an extremely confident player which has not gone unnoticed by his teammates.
 
“Very confident” is how Al Horford describes Rozier.
 
“I think for last year, having so many guys ahead of him, he was still trying to find his way,” Horford said. “Now he understands what he needs to do for our team. He’s confident. He’s putting pressure on defense.”
 
And as much as what he does now helps the Celtics, Horford envisions him being able to have an even bigger impact going forward.
 
“He’s going to keep getting better,” Horford said. “I still think he’s not where we want him to be but he’s making a lot of strides.
 
Horford added, “He’s going out there aggressive and that’s what we need from him. He needs to stay aggressive. As long as he keeps doing that, we’ll be good.”

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Celtics survive close call vs. Raptors, extend winning streak to 12 games

Celtics survive close call vs. Raptors, extend winning streak to 12 games

BOSTON – The wins just keep on coming for the Boston Celtics who survived the closest of close calls on Sunday, but still managed to cling to a 95-94 win.

DeMar DeRozan had a chance to give Toronto the victory. But Jaylen Brown’s defense was good enough to force a miss.

However, the loose ball wound up in Serge Ibaka’s hands briefly but he was unable to get his shot attempt to go in as the final horn sounded and the Celtics once again found a way to win.

Boston (12-2) has now won 12 in a row and remain the team to beat in not just the Eastern Conference … but the NBA.

Al Horford, returning to the lineup after missing two games while in the NBA’s concussion protocol program, had a strong game offensively with a team-high 21 points.

Brown (18 points) and Terry Rozier (16 points) off the bench also had big games for Boston.

As for the Raptors (7-5), DeRozan and Kyle Lowry had 24 and 19 points, respectively.

Boston spent a good chunk of the game playing from behind, but seemed to have found its stride when in the third quarter.

In the third, Boston went on a 20-6 run to lead 71-63 after a Brown 3-pointer.

The Raptors called a timeout which did them a world of good as they responded with a 10-2 spurt of their own to tie the game at 73-all with 1:44 to play in the quarter.

Toronto went ahead 76-74 late in the third, only for Rozier to have another late in the quarter 3-pointer which put Boston ahead 77-76.

The first half was one in which the Celtics would rally, make it a one-possession game only for the Raptors to go on a mini-run to keep just enough distance between themselves and the Celtics to maintain a steady amount of control.

Toronto had the game well in hand going into the half.

That is, until Rozier hit a step-back 3-pointer similar to the slide-to-the-left, step-back 3-pointer that Kyrie Irving at times will take to create space.

Rozier was fouled, and the 4-point play cut Toronto’s lead to 49-44 at the half.

Irving (minor facial fracture) did not play, with his return to the lineup very much up in the air.

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Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston will keep looking to next man up

Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston will keep looking to next man up

BOSTON -- When Gordon Hayward (ankle) went down, it took the Boston Celtics (10-2) about 24 hours to get from under the storm clouds of disappointment, and see his absence for what it was -- an opportunity for others to step up. 

That next-man-up mantra has become the identity of this team, a team that comes into tonight’s game against the Charlotte Hornets having won 10 straight which has them sitting atop the NBA standings. 

Their advancement in the face of adversity has been the talk of the NBA this season, and could be potentially be put to the test once again tonight against the Hornets. 

Jayson Tatum suffered a right ankle injury in the first half of Boston’s 107-96 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. X-Rays that night came back negative. Ditto for the MRI test Tatum had taken on Thursday. 

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Still, his status for tonight’s game is questionable. 

But one thing that’s not up for debate is the resiliency that this Celtics team has shown all season. 

So the idea that they might be short a starter, doesn’t faze them . .. at all. 

“Everybody has been stepping up,” Terry Rozier III told NBC Sports Boston. “I feel like everybody has been ready and everybody has been holding each other accountable to be ready. From the coaches on down, everybody just buying in.”

They have played all but the first five minutes of the season without Hayward.

Marcus Morris (left ankle) missed the first eight games, and still hasn’t been given the green light to play in back-to-back games even with minutes restrictions still in place.

Al Horford is in the NBA’s concussion protocol program following a blow to the head in Boston’s 110-107 win at Atlanta earlier this week. He has already been ruled out for tonight’s game, with his return still up in the air.

“I don’t think this is as bad as the concussion he had last year,” Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show, on Thursday. “But listen, with a concussion you have to be really cautious. The symptoms got a little worse over the course of a couple days.”

Charlotte (5-6) has had an up-and-down start to the season in part because the Hornets have had their own injury-related issues and off-the-floor personal matters to deal with. 

However, things are starting to turn up for the Hornets who are expected to welcome Michael Kidd-Gilchrist back to the lineup tonight. He had missed the Hornets’ last three games reportedly with an “excused personal absence.”

Although he’s not expected to play tonight, Charlotte’s Nicolas Batum is also near a return to action after tearing a ligament in his left elbow on Oct. 4. 

In their absence, the Hornets have leaned on former UConn guard Jeremy Lamb as well as a pair of rookies in Malik Monk and Dwayne Bacon. 

While Clifford likes a lot of what the young players have done thus far, he’s looking forward to having veteran core guys around so that all of them, the young and more experienced players, can settle into the roles required for success.

“We’ve got to get to our (planned playing) groups; we’re 11 games in,” Clifford told the Charlotte Observer. “It will take some time. But when they get back, they’re going to start.”

The same is true for Boston’s veteran players, although head coach Brad Stevens has repeatedly said that there will be a certain amount of fluidity to his starting lineup based upon matchups. 

“I’ve gone into every season thinking that’s a reasonable thing to do,” Stevens said. 

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