Celtics

Celtics

PHILADELPHIA – We have seen Terry Rozier deliver strong play when the opportunity presented itself in the regular season.

Once the postseason rolled around and Kyrie Irving was officially not coming back for the playoffs, Rozier had one big game after another in front of the comfy confines of the TD Garden helping Boston rack up wins, but most important, survive and move on.

But for him to take that next step in his basketball progression, he needed to deliver a big game on a big stage in front of a hostile crowd.

Game 3, on the road in Philly?

Yup.

That qualifies.

And Rozier was indeed up to the challenge, flirting with a double-double (18 points, seven rebounds) in helping lead Boston to a 101-98 victory.

“I think I’ve always seen potential in Terry," said Al Horford. "I didn’t know what it was going to be, but I just think that he has taken advantage of the opportunity."

Boston now leads the best-of-seven series 3-0 with a chance to eliminate the Sixers on Monday.

The Celtics being on the cusp of a sweep seemed highly unlikely when this series began; almost as unlikely as a big road game from Rozier, who added three assists and two steals and readily admits his best play hasn’t traveled well in the postseason.

“It was great, it was great,” Rozier told NBC Sports Boston. “You see the stuff people say, ‘we’re better at home compared to the road.’ You just don’t want to fall into that...I care more about winning but shots were able to fall.”

 

It was something we had not seen from Rozier on the road on this postseason journey.

Still, the point he alluded to about the discrepancy statistically between the Celtics at home versus on the road is real.

And his numbers, maybe more than any other Celtic, highlight that difference.

In home playoff games, Rozier has averaged 22.8 points, 6.7 assists and 5.2 rebounds while shooting 50.5 percent from the field and 54.3 percent from 3-point range.

There was a significant drop in the three road games at Milwaukee, where he averaged just 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 7.3 assists while shooting just 27.8 percent from the field and 25.9 percent on 3’s.

But in his first game in front of a raucous Wells Fargo Center crowd on Saturday night, Rozier shot 7-for-15 (46.7 percent) from the field and looked as comfortable as we’ve seen him on the road this season.

Rozier said that playing on the road in the playoffs vs. the regular season has required some getting used to.

But at the end of the day, he realizes the best way to handle playing on the road is to not think about the location but instead, focus on his game and what he needs to do to help the Celtics be successful.

“I have to stay aggressive no matter what,” he said.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE