Celtics

Celtics escape with last-second win over Charlotte in Terry Rozier's return "home"

Celtics escape with last-second win over Charlotte in Terry Rozier's return "home"

BOSTON -- Terry Rozier made his way into the TD Garden on Sunday afternoon and was soon greeted by some familiar faces. 

After chatting a couple of folks in media relations, Rozier took a few more paces forward and soon made a sharp left turn into the visitor’s locker room which served as the first noticeable difference between the four years he spent as a Celtic and the new reality of his life with his new team, the Charlotte Hornets. 

“This is home for me,” Rozier said. 

And while the fans certainly showed Rozier some love when he was introduced with the rest of the Charlotte starters, the Celtics still managed to come away with a 107-106 preseason win. 

Jayson Tatum led all players with 20 points and Celtics fan favorite Tacko Fall came off the  Celtics bench and scored five points to go with three rebounds and two blocked shots in eight minutes of action. 

Boston also got a nice lift from rookie Carsen Edwards who picked up where he left off in summer league with his instant-offense game. He had 11 points on 4-for-9 shooting which included 3-for-6 from 3-point range. 

In limited minutes, Rozier reminded all in attendance how talented a player he can be, tallying a near double-double of nine points and nine assists along with four rebounds in just 22 minutes of court time. 

“He’s a great competitor,” said Hornets head coach James Borrego of Rozier. “He’s bought in from Day One. He’s done everything we’ve asked of him. I look forward to him growing this season.”

Rozier still has that feisty, competitive streak but the final score meant little to him or the Celtics for that matter. 

For Rozier, it was more about getting this season started while at the same time, seeing some familiar faces and ex-teammates that he remains close to still.

Before the game, Rozier talked about how excited he was to face his ex-teammates and the franchise that selected him in the first round with the 16th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft.  

“I’m ready to go out here, have some fun, talk a little trash to my old teammates and just get it over with,” Rozier said. “I’m glad to be back in this building.”

While things certainly didn’t end the way Rozier or the Celtics would have liked, the 25-year-old returns with nothing but good thoughts and memories of his time in Boston. 

For Rozier, playing for the Hornets allows him to live out a life-long dream of being not just an NBA player, but an NBA starter who is essentially the face of the franchise. 

“It’s been great. I’ve been learning, continuing to learn, continue to grow,” Rozier said. “I’m in a different role, a bigger role but it’s something I’ve always wanted and I’m ready for. I’m just going to keep getting better as the time goes.”

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Enes Kanter Show podcast: Back from break healthy, preparing for boos in Utah

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Enes Kanter Show podcast: Back from break healthy, preparing for boos in Utah

It's a 28-game dash to the playoffs for the Boston Celtics that begins in Minnesota Friday night and Enes Kanter is focused on one key element as the C's return to the court for the first time since the weeklong All-Star break.

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"Please stay healthy," the Celtics big man told Chris Forsberg on the latest episode of The Enes Kanter Show podcast. "If we all stay healthy, we can beat every team on every floor."

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When we last saw Kanter, he was limping off the floor late in the C's double-overtime victory over the Clippers. He's been bothered by a hip injury but he said he'll be good to go Friday. 

Also on the mend from a hip issue is fellow big man Robert Williams. Though he won't play on Boston's upcoming four-game trip, Williams has had his practice restrictions lifted and Kanter liked what he saw Wednesday as the C's got back to work.

"Rob was amazing. He can change the game,"  Kanter told Forsberg."He hasn't played for like two months and he got a lob and dunked the ball on his first possession. This is special. He just needs to get into game shape."

Kanter also talked about his 1-on-1 battles in practice with Marcus Smart. 

"It's always good because now the NBA is going small, right?" the 6-10 Kanter said of matching up with the 6-3 guard.  "Marcus Smart is one of the best, if not THE best defender out there. When I go against him, I get better. To be able to go against a small guy and try to guard him, it makes him better and makes me better."

Forsberg captured a portion of their showdown on video:

I always try to get under his skin," Kanter said of Smart, "but he's tough mentally."

This trip takes Kanter and the Celtics to Utah, where his NBA career began from 2011-2015. Will he get a warm welcome from Jazz fans?

"I wonder who's going to get more booed me or [Celtics forward and ex-Jazz star] Gordon [Hayward]? Every time I touch the ball, I get booed there," Kanter said.

Because Hayward is a more recent departure, Kanter said he might be able to escape most of the fans' wrath.

"I feel good this time because I've got Gordon."

Check out the Enes Kanter Show each week on NBC Sports Boston Podcast network. 

This Friday is Jayson Tatum Day here at NBC Sports Boston. Be sure to check out our exclusive content around Tatum throughout the day, both online and on the broadcast of Celtics-Timberwolves, which begins Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 8 p.m. You can also stream it on the MyTeams App.

Robert Williams travels with Celtics, but won't play on four-game trip

Robert Williams travels with Celtics, but won't play on four-game trip

BOSTON -- There’s a good chance that at some point on Celtics Pregame Live on NBC Sports Boston before the game Friday in Minnesota, viewers will see Robert Williams III on the floor taking shots. 

Don’t get too excited, Celtics fans. 

Yes, Time Lord will be traveling with the team, and yes, that gimpy hip of his is feeling a lot better. 

But coach Brad Stevens says Williams won’t be playing at any point on the four-game trip. 

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Still, that he'll be with the team is the kind of progress that indicates his return to games is sooner rather than later. 

Stevens said Williams will another check-up in about a week to make sure that the physical activity that he’s doing between now and then, has not had an adverse effect on his hip which has kept him sidelined for the last 33 games. 

“I’m getting anxious, just knowing I’m a couple of games away,” said Williams. “My first game back, I think is a home game,  so it’s special to me.”

Boston embarks on a four-game trip beginning with Minnesota on Friday, followed by stops in Los Angeles to play the Lakers, then Portland and Utah. The Celtics' next home game is Feb. 29 against the Houston Rockets. 

With no restrictions now at practices, Williams readily admits it can be challenging to contain himself.

“They let me [be] free now, no limitations on anything I’m doing,” Williams said. “So, I want to windmill every time I dunk. But I still have to play it cautious a little bit.”

This Friday is Jayson Tatum Day here at NBC Sports Boston. Be sure to check out our exclusive content around Tatum throughout the day, both online and on the broadcast of Celtics-Timberwolves, which begins Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 8 p.m. You can also stream it on the MyTeams App.