Celtics

Terry Rozier wants to leave Celtics if Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward return

Terry Rozier wants to leave Celtics if Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward return

It appears Tuesday was Terry Rozier's official airing of grievances on ESPN.

The Boston Celtics point guard went on "Get Up!" in the morning to discuss the challenges of playing with Kyrie Irving, suggesting Irving's return from offseason knee surgery led to some confusion about the Celtics' game plan.

Rozier expanded on those challenges a few hours later on ESPN's First Take, explaining that the bulk of his frustration this season stemmed from taking a back seat to Irving and Gordon Hayward.

"Just obviously in the shadow of some guys," Rozier said. "The ball was in either Kyrie or Gordon Hayward's hands most of the time. So, I feel like either Terry Rozier is just in the corner or on the bench. One of those two."

Rozier's minutes dipped from 25.9 per game in 2017-18 -- when Hayward missed 81 games and Irving missed 22 -- to 22.7 per game this season. The 25-year-old also saw his playoff minutes cut in half from the previous postseason, when he assumed the starting point guard role with Irving out.

"I'm out there for a little bit of half of my minutes, so I'm really not being my position," Rozier said of sharing the backcourt with Irving. "I'm not being Terry Rozier, because I have to adjust to how Kyrie plays. And then when Kyrie comes out, Gordon Hayward comes in and I feel like his usage is super high, so a lot of plays get called for him."

The numbers tell a slightly different story; Hayward had an 18.2 percent usage rate this season, only a hair ahead of Rozier at 17.9 percent. Rozier also got more touches than Hayward this season, per The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor.

Evidence aside, Rozier said he felt the Celtics' coaching staff favored Irving and Hayward over the rest of the roster.

"Them treating Gordon and Kyrie, I wouldn't say different than everybody else, but I feel like they just treated them like they were just on that level where there were no adjustments that could be made because they are who they are," Rozier said. "We never figured it out after that."

Those words certainly sound like a guy who wouldn't mind a change of scenery. Rozier, who's a restricted free agent this offseason, was asked point-blank if he would want to say on this Celtics team if Irving, Hayward and the rest of the roster returns in 2019-20.

"Nah, I might have to go," Rozier said. "I put up with a lot this year. I said what I said after the season. I think we all know I'm not trying to step into that again."

We do now, Terry.

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How Gordon Hayward helped ensure Kobe Bryant would score 60 in final game

How Gordon Hayward helped ensure Kobe Bryant would score 60 in final game

Kobe Bryant had one of the most iconic final games in NBA history.

With the Los Angeles Lakers well out of the playoff race in his last year, the team's final regular season game served as a send-off for Bryant. In the outing, Bryant dominated the game, took as many shots as he wanted, and ultimately scored 60 points to cap off a comeback win over the Utah Jazz.

It was a great way to end an amazing career.

And believe it or not, Gordon Hayward actually played a part in ensuring that Bryant would be guaranteed to get 60 points late in that game.

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As Mike Tirico detailed on a recent episode of The Ringer's Ryen Russilo Podcast, Hayward, then playing for the Jazz, actually made a key move late in the contest that few people remember. Hayward intentionally committed a lane violation on Bryant's final free throw just to give him a chance to to get to 60 in case he missed it.

And to Tirico, that decision stands out and makes him "a fan of [Hayward's] for life."

That, to me, was the most unique example I could give to people of the fraternity of the NBA. And the reverence for greatness in the NBA is at a different level that any of the other sports that we watch or cover.

He had the complete wherewithal at 59 to just put a foot in the lane and look over at the ref just in case Kobe missed it to make sure he got another shot at 60.

That is just one of those things that nobody ever remembers, that very few people see, but every time I see Gordon Hayward, I think of that. I'm like, 'You know what, dude, you get it. You get it at a level that other people don't and I'm a fan of yours for life for that.

That would be pretty incredible, but Hayward actually took to Twitter to deny that he had done that intentionally committed a lane violation.

Either way, this moment is even more poignant after Bryant's tragic passing. Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, were among the nine people killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday afternoon.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Heat, which begins Tuesday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream it on the MyTeams App.

Celtics vs. Heat start time changed to 8 p.m. ET after Lakers vs. Clippers postponed

Celtics vs. Heat start time changed to 8 p.m. ET after Lakers vs. Clippers postponed

The Boston Celtics were originally scheduled to take on the Miami Heat starting at 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday night.

However, the time of the game has changed in the wake of the NBA's decision to postpone the Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers game.

The battle for L.A. was originally scheduled to take place at 10:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday and would air after the conclusion of Celtics-Heat on TNT. But with the former game no longer being played in the aftermath of Kobe Bryant's death, TNT has elected to move back the start of the Celtics game into the 8 p.m. ET window.

The Celtics will enter Tuesday night's game with a record of 30-15 while the Heat sit at 31-14, pending the result of their Monday night game against the Orlando Magic.

Pregame coverage of the contest will begin on NBC Sports Boston at 7 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live.