Celtics

Terry Rozier on Kyrie Irving: 'He's our leader, our backbone'

Terry Rozier on Kyrie Irving: 'He's our leader, our backbone'

BOSTON — Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier believes that the team’s cross-country flight last week forced players to recognize that time was running short on salvaging an uneven 2018-19 season and that Kyrie Irving’s positive energy has been one of the biggest factors in steering the team back on course.

“It’s easy … when Kyrie is in a great mood, when Kyrie is feeling good, our whole team is feeling good,” Rozier said this week during an episode of The Pick Up presented by Nissan. The first of two episodes with Rozier airs Friday night during Celtics Post Up on NBC Sports Boston.

"And you know when [Irving is] feeling good, when he’s super engaged, he’s smiling, things like that. … When he’s a little upset, angry, whatever it might be — [with the] media, whatever -- everybody tends to get uptight and it doesn’t work out for us and I’m talking players, coaches, everything. He’s our leader, our guy, he’s our backbone.”

The Celtics have won four of their last five games since a long flight out west following a disheartening loss to the Rockets on national television. An engaged Irving hasn’t just been spectacular offensively the past five games, averaging 24.5 points, 9.8 assists, and 6 rebounds per game — highlighted by a 31-point triple-double in Thursday’s come-from-behind victory over the Kings — but he’s been taking charges again and making the sort of hustle plays that has reinvigorated Boston’s defense.

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And the tenor around the team changed with that flight to the Bay Area.

“The flight was super long, and after a loss, too, so it was just like -- obviously you had a group of guys, sectioned off with different groups, people talking amongst one another, and basically we just came to the realization that we have to get our stuff together. And you gotta get it together fast. 

"This road trip was the perfect way to start off something special.”

It's become clear that Boston’s success starts with Irving and his engagement level. While everybody on the roster will play a part in what this team can ultimately accomplish, it all starts with Irving

Rozier was asked if he’s surprised that outsiders weren’t aware of how important Irving’s demeanor is to this young team.

“Well, [outsiders] don’t understand a lot of things, to be honest with you,” said Rozier. "We in a locker room, we in a locker room. So we know what’s going on, 100 percent. We know everything. We know how people are feeling. Like, people on the outside looking in, they may see Jaylen [Brown] get into it with [Marcus] Smart, or [Marcus Morris], or Kyrie, and they might think that JB is the problem just because of what they see. We see everything, we know everything that’s going on. 

"And whether it’s on the plane, whether it’s in the locker room, we see it all, because we’re a family and we are with each other 24/7. Same time, we know how to fix them problems.”

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NBA Rumors: Celtics staffer believes Tacko Fall is worth an investment

NBA Rumors: Celtics staffer believes Tacko Fall is worth an investment

Tacko Fall took the Las Vegas Summer League by storm not only with his size, but his ability to impact the game in ways players that big struggle to do consistently at the highest level. 

The Celtics got a front-row seat to Fall's play after signing the big man to an Exhibit 10 contract following the 2019 NBA Draft. He averaged 7.2 points, four rebounds and 1.2 blocks on 77 percent shooting to go along with some eye-popping dunks where he barely left the floor. 

It's up to Boston whether to carry him on the roster next season, and one anonymous Celtics staffer believes Fall is worth an investment, especially if he continues to develop at the rate he has been since the draft. 

The Celtics filled its last roster spot by signing Javonte Green to a partially guaranteed contract this week and have both two-way contract slots occupied by Max Strus and Tremont Waters. 

Boston typically brings in more than 15 players under contract into camp for competition purposes, but the Exhibit 10 contract gives Fall a guaranteed camp invite along with a $50,000 bonus if the Celtics waive him and want to sign him to the Maine Red Claws. 

It's difficult to see what the staffer means exactly by saying he's "worth an investment." But whether it means a full-time roster spot, a two-way deal or the $50,000 bonus to play in Maine all season, it's clear the Celtics want to give the 7-7 big man out of UCF an extended look this year. While Fall has a very long way to go before he can crack an NBA rotation, you can't deny how much fun it is to watch him dwarf the giants of the league. 

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WATCH: Brian Scalabrine swats Stephen Jackson's shot in BIG3 game

WATCH: Brian Scalabrine swats Stephen Jackson's shot in BIG3 game

Former Celtics forward and NBC Sports Boston's own Brian Scalabrine showed he still has a little something left over from his playing days during a BIG3 game Sunday. 

Scalabrine found himself guarding former scoring wing Stephen Jackson, and when Jackson went up for a reverse layup on the right side of the rim, Scalabrine was there to send it back. Since BIG3 basketball is played in the half-court, Scal's team quickly turned the play into two points. 

This shouldn't come all that surprising though. Say what you want about Scal's offensive game when he didn't have his jumper going, but the man was always an underrated post defender. 

Given the state of the Celtics frontcourt going into the 2019-20 season, could they use some of Scal's interior presence on the defensive end? Probably not, but that most likely won't stop him from sharing his highlights with Brad Stevens and the Celtics coaching staff. 

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