Celtics

Rozier opens up about issues factoring in Celtics season ending sooner than expected

Rozier opens up about issues factoring in Celtics season ending sooner than expected

MILWAUKEE -- When an NBA team’s season officially ends, players have a tendency to get a few things off their chest shortly after the final game is played. 

Terry Rozier falls into that category after a 116-91 season-ending loss to the Milwaukee Bucks that sent the Celtics home in the second round - their earliest playoff exit since 2016.

Like most of his teammates, Rozier acknowledged the team fell well short of their goals, which were based in part on the team’s relatively deep talent base, one that may have been too deep, in hindsight. 

“It wasn’t easy on coach dealing with a lot of guys that want to be great, trying to get there,” Rozier said. 

That’s a not-so-veiled way of addressing what was a season-long issue for the Celtics: there are a significant number of players whose games are still developing, who at the same time are being asked to make sacrifices for the team. 

The issue wasn’t whether guys wanted to do it. 

It makes a lot of sense on so many levels to embrace that team-first mindset. 

Still, the success of this team last season in the playoffs, without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, made it a lot tougher for those players who showed up and played well in the team’s 2018 postseason run to return to a reduced role this season with Irving and Gordon back. 

Further complicating matters for the bulk of the team was how both Irving and Hayward struggled mightily in the Milwaukee series while the bench was in a bit of transition with welcoming Marcus Smart back after he missed more than a month with a torn oblique injury. His return, coupled with the Celtics’ insistence on ratcheting up the minutes played by Irving, left Rozier in an even more reduced role than he had in the regular season. 

And you can bet that Rozier’s limited playing time this season and the playoffs will have an impact on whether he’s back in Boston next season. 

A restricted free agent this summer, Rozier drew interest from a number of teams at the trade deadline and will continue to be under consideration for a number of teams. 

I asked him what is he looking for in whatever team he plays for next season. 

“I’m looking forward to a family, a team that treats me like a family and that’s gonna invest in me all the way,” Rozier said. 

I then asked him about the Celtics, who have the right to match any offer he receives. 

“No comment,” Rozier replied, which was a not-so-subtle hint that Rozier is ready to move on and start anew with another team. 

Listening to Rozier after the game, it’s clear that there were a lot more issues among the players that did not make their way outside for public consumption. 

But the season is over now and a number of players are unlikely to be back in Boston next season. 

Even with the issues that factored in the team’s underwhelming performance, Rozier acknowledged that he, too, will have a few takeaways from the experience. 

“I learned a lot,” he said. “It was tough, dealing with all the talent we had, different guys wanna be in the limelight, already in the limelight, [expletive] like that. It’s been a lot. I feel like we can all step back. The time is right now, we go on vacation and just relax and reflect on the season and learn from it. It’s nothing you can do about the season now. It’s over with.”

And the same is likely to be the case for Rozier's time with the Celtics. 
 

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Bryce Brown his franchise 3's record in Red Claws loss

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Bryce Brown his franchise 3's record in Red Claws loss

The Maine Red Claws were in action at home at the Portland Expo Center on Saturday night hosting the Delaware Blue Coats, taking a 128-123 loss to fall to 7-4 and fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

Tacko Fall wasn’t in action, but Bryce Brown was simply furious, leading all scorers with 43 points 15 of 17 from the floor overall and a franchise single-game record 11 of 11 three-pointers. Tremont Waters was terrific, too, with 18 points and 11 assists.

HIGHLIGHTS

BRYCE BROWN

Brown, an undrafted free agent who helped lead Auburn to its first Final Four appearance last spring, was simply unconscious for the Claws. He shot a perfect 11 of 11 from three-point range to give him an absurd effective field goal percentage of 1.2 for the game.

TREMONT WATERS

Waters, the Connecticut native, was crafty in his distribution, with just four turnovers to go with his 11 assists.

Yante Maten (18 points), Vincent Poirier (18) and Justin Bibbs (10) also scored in double-figures for the Red Claws.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Red Claws return to action Friday in Des Moines, Iowa to face the Iowa Wolves, with tipoff at 8 p.m. ET.

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Cavaliers, which tips off Monday at 6:30 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 7:30 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.

Happy birthday, Larry Bird!

Happy birthday, Larry Bird!

Anytime is a good time to watch highlights of the greatness that was Larry Bird playing for the Celtics.

But on Larry Legend's 63rd birthday? It's time to break out the best of No. 33...

The fight with Dr. J in 1984:

The 60-point game against the Hawks in '85:

The steal against Isiah Thomas and the Pistons in '87:

The "you are watching was greatness is all about" duel with Dominique Wilkins in '88:

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST CELTICS TALK PODCAST (LISTEN BELOW): 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Cavaliers, which tips off Monday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Tommy & Mike have the call at 7:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.