Celtics-Sixers - Five things you might not be thinking about tonight
Five things you might not be thinking about tonight
PHILADELPHIA – When Terry Rozier showed up to training camp, the third-year guard’s confidence was never higher. He was still coming off the bench, but the expectations for him were much clearer than they had been his first two seasons.
He would have more of a defined role, one that has expanded since Marcus Smart was inserted into the starting lineup for Gordon Hayward (ankle), who is unlikely to play again this season according to his agent, Mark Bartelstein.
So, for Rozier, that means he will be looked to be more of a leader which is a role he relishes the opportunity to fulfill.
Rozier had a strong performance (15 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals) in the Celtics’ 108-100 loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday.
Still, he acknowledges he should have been better in terms of leading the second unit, something he hopes to make amends for tonight against Philadelphia.
“I gotta come off the bench and step up,” Rozier said. “And make sure the guys that are coming off the bench with me…make sure we’re on the same page.”
And to Rozier’s credit, one of the first signs of leadership he is displaying is accountability.
Despite having a strong game individually, he took ownership of the fact that the team didn’t play as well as they should have while he was on the floor.
“I told a couple guys it was my fault that we weren’t capitalizing on a lot of plays [against Milwaukee],” Rozier said. “I gotta do a better job at making sure everybody is in the right position, and yelling out the plays.”
Here are five things that you might not be thinking about as the Celtics hit the road once again, the time for the Sixers’ home opener:
HOME, (NOT SO) SWEET HOME
The Sixers are hoping to take off this season and become a legitimate playoff contender. For that to happen, getting off to a good start at home would be a good starting point. Philly’s struggles in recent years often begin with a not-so-stellar start to their home slate of games. Philadelphia hasn’t won a home opener since 2013.
EMBIID’S MINUTES ON THE RISE
The Sixers have been overly cautious with Joel Embiid’s minutes, which is understandable considering he had his first two seasons in the NBA wiped out due to injuries. But it appears Philly is ready to loosen up the minutes restrictions on Embiid after he played nearly 27 minutes in Philly’s season-opening loss at Washington. Against the Wizards, he had 18 points, 13 rebounds and three assists.
OKAFOR’S UNCERTAIN FUTURE
Just a couple years ago, Jahlil Okafor was a prized draft pick of the Sixers who as a rookie was among the best first-year players in the league. He can score with the best of them, but he wasn’t scoring points with the coaching staff. This past summer, Okafor dedicated himself to improving his conditioning and came into camp slimmer than he has ever been as a pro. But an improved physique hasn’t improved his floor time as he did not play (coach's decision) in the season opener against Washington. He was seen as one of the more likely players to be traded last season, and it looks as though that’ll be the case once again this season.
FULTZ-TATUM, ROUND 1
Markelle Fultz is coming off the bench for the Sixers, while Tatum is a starter. Admit it. Very few saw that happening, not this quick at least. The Sixers are trying to balance having experience on the floor to start games (J.J. Redick) while also making sure they continue to develop their young core which includes Fultz who was the number one overall pick by Philly after they acquired it from Boston. As for Tatum, taken by Boston with the No. 3 pick in the draft, he has benefited from a series of circumstances that were completely out of his control. Marcus Morris was late showing up to camp due to a court trial in Phoenix and had some knee soreness when he arrived. As a precautionary measure, the Celtics have sidelined him for what will be at least another week. Gordon Hayward (left ankle) is likely to miss the rest of the season. And while the absence of those players has opened up the window for Tatum to play more, to his credit he has made the most of his increased opportunity. He tallied a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds in his first NBA game at Cleveland and was within a basket and a rebound (eight points, nine rebounds) of doing it the following night against Milwaukee.
Following the 108-100 loss to Milwaukee at home, Jaylen Brown addressed the media afterward. There was a wrap of some sorts around his left wrist. When asked about it, he said it wasn’t that big a deal. “Nothing much. Just a sprain. I’ll be alright,” he said. Marcus Smart said he rolled both ankles against Milwaukee and is questionable tonight.