Tag: Terry Rozier

Celtics Show no Fight in Blowout to Toronto

With a month and a half left in the regular season the Boston Celtics continue to sit in the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, they’ve dropped three straight and lost five out of their last 10 games. Last night was no different, the Toronto Raptors blew Boston out of their home court 118-95, at one point the Raptors were in complete control up 30.

The season has been repetitive up to this point, where the team wins a couple of games in a row and looks like they finally turned the corner on their inconsistent play. Instead of turning the page Boston somehow returns to their old ways and go on a losing streak, where it seems that the players don’t like each other.

Who do we Blame for the Celtics season?

We can point the finger at Brad Stevens for not switching up the lineups when the team goes through these losing moments, we can blame Kyrie Irving for his lack of leadership or we can point at Terry Rozier for his awful play off the bench. Regardless of whose to blame, this Celtics team with so much depth should not be in this position.

Some of it could be the injury to back-up center, Aron Baynes, who’s been sidelined due to a foot contusion. From late December until mid-January Baynes missed 13 games because of a fractured hand injury, he appeared in just nine games before going down again. With Baynes our, the Celtics lack a true big man off the bench once Al Horford takes a breather. Daniel Theis, Guerschon Yabusele and banged up Robert Williams get exposed inside against the opposing big men.

Toronto’s big men of Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam were just to much to handle for Boston’s undersized bigs. Gasol finished with five points, five rebound and eight assists, Ibaka had 14 points and Siakam killed Boston with 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting and eight rebounds.

Irving Confident in Team heading into the Postseason

Irving made headlines on Sunday after the Celtics loss to the Chicago Bulls where he said he doesn’t believe anyone can beat Boston four out of seven games. “Like I said, I don’t get frustrated about this stuff anymore. It’s just part of the regular season. In the playoffs, when we can plan for a team, prepare for a team, I still don’t see anybody beating us in seven games,” said Irving.

Irving believes that once the playoffs comes around the Celtics will be a whole different team then what they’re showing. “No, we’ll be fine,” Irving then added, “Because I’m here.” He of all players has the right to be this confident based on his history of coming up big when the pressure is on. Irving hit one of the most clutch shots in Finals history against the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, which secured the Cleveland Cavaliers first championship.

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The Celtics stay intact, While the East Stacks up

The trade deadline came and went without any moves from Boston as General Manager Danny Ainge and the rest of the Boston Celtics front office have decided to stick with the nucleus intact in hopes of a trip to the Finals.

With many speculations now in the rear view about whether or not Ainge was willing to deal Kyrie Irving before the deadline after his questionable comments about his commitment to Boston last Friday. The Celtics will now make a run at the top spot in the East with the same roster with less than three months remaining in the regular season.

Making a Run at the top spot in the East

We can’t say whether or not Boston has finally found some consistency, we’ve seen them go on a winning streak and then lose a couple of games to team not in the playoff picture.

Boston has won 10 of their last 11 games, with the only lost coming against the Golden State Warriors. They’ve shown us they can be a championship level team based on their brilliant performance against the Warriors and against Oklahoma City Thunder last Sunday. They outlasted the dynamic duo of Paul George and Russell Westbrook, who both have been in the MVP discussion this season.

Boston currently sits in the third seed in the East just three and a half games behind Toronto for second place and five and a half games behind Milwaukee for the number one seed. Milwaukee currently has the best record in the East and NBA at 40-13, and the Philadelphia 76ers can’t be slept on after making a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers for Tobias Harris, who’s averaging a career high 20.9 points per game this season.

Boston’s Marcus Morris Sr, isn’t sold on the new look Sixers, “Great pick up, not enough though,” wrote Morris on the comment section of a Belcher Report Instagram post.

Are the Celtics still the Clear Cut Favorite to win the East?

With the East as stacked as ever, do the odds still play in the Celtics favor to represent the East in the Finals. We can argue that the top four teams in the East, in the Bucks, Sixers, Toronto Raptors and Celtics have a shot at giving Golden State fits in the Finals, even potential push them to seven games.

Head coach of the Bucks, Mike Budenholzer has unlocked the Bucks offense with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way putting up MVP numbers with 27 ppg, 12.4 rebounds a game and 5.9 assists per game. Before the deadline the Bucks added Nikola Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans. Mirotic was an important piece for the Pelicans during the postseason last year and has continued to play well this season averaging 16.7 ppg and 8.2 rpg.

The Sixers have formed their own big four of Harris, Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. General Manager, Elton Brand and the front office will stick with these four players alongside JJ Reddick for the foreseeable future, and will look to resign both Harris and Butler this off-season.

Just an hour before the trade deadline the Raptors landed Marc Gasol from Memphis, which improves their center position as opposed to having Jonás Valanciunas, who was included in the trade. A starting five of Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Serge Ibaka and Gasol will be interesting to see as the goal for President, Masaji Ujiri, is to make the Finals in hopes of resigning free agent to be, Leonard.

As for Boston, chemistry and consistency is what’s keeping this team from competition night in and night out at a Golden State Warrior level. We’ve seen them pick up big wins against the Sixers, Raptors and even sweeping the Thunder this season, but it’s their inconsistency that’s kept Boston from being mentioned as a clear cut favorite from reaching the Finals. Gordon Hayward has yet to find his groove, but on the bright side Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier have found their role coming off the bench.

The Celtics play LeBron James and the Lakers tonight at TD Garden, and will test out the newly formed big four in Philadelphia on Tuesday the 12.

Celtics vs. Warriors; NBA Finals Preview?

One of the most anticipated match-ups of the season takes place tonight when the Golden State Warriors visit the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. This will be the first meeting between these two teams as both clubs are currently riding winning streaks. Golden State has won nine games in a row and the Celtics have won five of their own.

Warriors sit at the top of the Western Conference and Boston still finds themselves in the fifth seed in the East.

Baynes and Cousins Set to Go Tonight

As if the hype for this game wasn’t big enough both Aron Baynes and DeMarcus Cousins are set to play tonight, both coming off major injuries as Baynes continues to be limited to just 18 minutes of playing time since returning from a broken hand injury. Cousins on the other side is still working his way back from an torn Achilles tendon he suffered last season with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Head Coach Steve Kerr has limited Cousins to just 20 minutes of playing time, but that hasn’t stopped the big man from making an impact alongside Golden States other four All-Stars in Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. In their last game against the Washington Wizards, Cousins put up 17 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes of action. Cousins has gelled in nicely alongside the Warriors starting five, he’s made an impact in the paint with his post-game and is still hitting the three at an efficient rate.

Battle of Point Guards: Curry vs. Irving

Whenever Curry and Kyrie Irving go head-to-head NBA fans know they’re going to be in for a treat. The countless battles they’ve shared in three straight Finals was something nobody could forget. During the 2017 Finals Irving averaged 29.4 points per game (PPG) and 4.4 assists per game, while Curry averaged 26.8 PPG and 9.4 APG.

Who can forget the last meeting these two point guards had last season. It was last January when Curry and Irving lit up Oracle, Curry led the Warriors to a 109-105 victory by dropping 49 points and five assists, Irving had 37 points and four assists.

What to watch out for; The Boston Depth

Boston’s depth will determine the outcome of this game. Brad Stevens will look at his young trio of Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier to make a huge impact on both sides of the floor. Rozier will have a tough assignment as he will occasional have to switch up onto Curry whenever Irving’s on the bench or needs to lay back on the defensive side. Brown and Tatum will have to score in double digits if Boston wants a chance to beat Golden State

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The Boston depth of Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Al Horford and Jaylen Brown will play a key role in tonight’s match-up. (Photo credit: Zimbio)

And then there is Al Horford, which since coming back from injury has been playing well. Against the Miami Heat, Horford put up 16 points and controlled the glass with 12 rebounds.

Both Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris will need to bring their grittiness and toughness on the defensive side when checking Durant and Thompson.

Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. Their next match-up will take place after the All-Star break at Oracle Arena on March 5.

Boston Gets a Sloppy Road Win in ATL

It wasn’t a pretty win for the Celtics, before the game Gordon Hayward was ruled out due to personal reasons, in the third quarter Marcus Smart was ejected after receiving a second technical, Marcus Morris and Al Horford shot a combined 7-21 from the field. It was a combination of another heroic Kyrie Irving fourth quarter and sloppy plays by a young Atlanta Hawks team that secured Boston the 113-105 victory.

This is Boston’s third straight win after losing three in a row. Since the start of the New Year Boston has won seven of their last 10 games and still sit in the fifth spot in the East.

Kyrie Irving Saves the Night

Maybe it was the back-to-back games, but the Celtics started the game slow and at one point were down by as many as 16. With 6:30 remaining in the second quarter Irving re-entered the game to find his team down 38-52, from there Irving scored or assisted on 20 of Boston’s 32 second quarter points, which included 15 points of his own. At the half Boston cut the 14 point lead to just seven.

During the third quarter Boston lost their defensive guy in Marcus Smart when he lost his cool with Hawks DeAndre Bembry during a jump ball. Smart and Bembry had to be separated after an exchange of words, which resulted in a double technicals that being Smart’s second he would be ejected. The defensive pressure feel on Irving and Terry Rozier once Smart was out of the game and Rozier stepped up.

Scary Terry Steps up Defensively

Over the last three games Rozier has stepped up on the defensive side after many head scratching plays on the offensive end this season. During Boston’s Florida trip that resulted in two losses to Orlando and Miami, Rozier has flipped the switch on the defensive side. In the past three games, the team has had a 93.7 defensive rating when Rozier is on the floor and his 17.5 net rating is third on the team.

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Terry Rozier has stepped up for Boston on the Defensive side since their three game road trip. (Photo Credit: Yahoo Sports)

Rozier has be so inconsistent on the offensive side with many questionable shots and lack of production because of a bench role. For the past couple of games Rozier has been picking up opponents full court, flying around on the defensive end and has made good decisions on offense.

Head coach Brad Stevens has praised Rozier’s effort as of late, “Terry’s playing at a high level and he can go 4 for 12 and impact us in a real positive way. Then on the nights he’s 9 for 12, he’s going to feel great and he’ll impact us in a positive way, but I’m excited about the way he’s played in the last two,” Stevens said.

Boston has a chance to avenge their loss to Miami tomorrow when the Heat visit the Celtics at TD Garden.

Trade Deadline Decisions for the Boston Celtics

With the NBA trade deadline three weeks away and Boston still sitting in the fifth seed we have to wonder if General Manager Danny Ainge is going to pull the trigger and make a deal by the deadline. With all the drama between players we’ll see if Ainge sticks with the current roster and cashes in this summer for an Anthony Davis trade.

The New Orleans Pelicans have continued to say they’re not trading Davis, so with that being said will Boston go into the postseason with the same roster and finally make an offer for Davis once Kyrie Irving signs a new deal. Below are three trade options the Celtics can make to better their roster.

Trade Daniel Theis for Some Size

Daniel Theis is an energy guy, there’s nothing to questions about his play off the bench or as a starter, but because he’s injury prone and his size for a big man causes an issue for Boston’s frontcourt rotation. This season Theis is averaging 6.6 points per game (PPG) and four rebounds a game (RPG), his small frame is exposed when Boston faces teams with a deep frontcourt such as Detroit, Miami, Toronto, Indiana and Philadelphia.

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Second year player, Daniel Theis is averaging six points per game and four rebounds per game. (Photo credit: NBA.com)

Boston currently has three players in Aron Baynes, Robert Williams and Al Horford at 6’10 and with the emergence of rookie Williams it’s easy to see he deserves more minutes. Williams can do everything Theis does, but has an advantage because of his athletic ability.

Boston can package Theis and Rozier for Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic, who is on the trade block on the final year of his contract. The 28-year-old is putting up 20 ppg, 12 rpg, and 3.8 assists per game (APG). Vucevic can give Boston another option down low aside from Horford, he can post up and has a mid-range game.

Ship Scary Terry for assets

After this season Rozier will be a restricted free agent and with Irving looking to resign with Boston, its obvious Rozier will play his last season with the Celtics. Teams like the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks who are in need of a point guard will be going after Rozier, but the question is whether or not Boston will want to match whatever they offer Rozier. Irving will eat up the majority of Boston’s cap space and Horford will most likely pick-up his player option and stay with the team.

Boston can flirt with the Suns about a Rozier trade and see if they offer up a few first rounder picks to add to Boston treasure vault. If Boston continues to stock up on draft picks they can make a stronger case to the Pelicans this summer on a Davis deal.

Trade Hayward to Get the Best out of Tatum

Boston can continue to wait and see if Gordon Hayward ever gets back to who he was or they can look for a team that can use him and get some veteran and bench prescience in return. Hayward’s trade value is at an all-time low, no team will offer up a first round pick and with $127 million remaining in his four-year deal it will be difficult to see a team take him.

A Hayward trade will benefit Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown the most. With Hayward out of the rotation it can probably open up Brown and Tatum’s game and get them back to who they were during the postseason. Tatum and Brown showed during the playoffs they are bona fide stars in this league and can average equal or more numbers to what Hayward put up in Utah.

Tensions Flare In Boston, As the Celtics Loss Again

The roller coaster of a season for the Boston Celtics goes on as tensions continue to raise amongst players, and in last night’s 105-103 loss to the Orlando Magic a brief disagreement was caught between head coach Brad Stevens and superstar point guard Kyrie Irving.

First it was Marcus Morris and Jaylen Brown’s brief scuffle during a timeout in Thursday’s loss to the Miami Heat, and last night an argument was witnessed between Stevens and Irving over a drawn up play for the last shot of the game. At the end, Gordon Hayward inbounded the ball to Jayson Tatum, who then attempted a fade away over Magic guard, Wesley Iwundu, with 2.7 seconds remaining in regulation. After the game, Irving seemed frustrated over Hayward’s decision to give the ball to Tatum for the last shot, Irving can be seen telling Hayward, “You had Al,” who was open at the top of the key.

Irving Critical of Young Teammates over Lack of Experience

After the game Irving and Al Horford both questioned their young teammate’s inconsistent play, “We play hard at times. We don’t play hard all the time,” Horford said.

We’ve reached the mid-way point of the season and the Celtics continue to show inconsistency on both sides of the floor. Boston seemed to have figured it out after their team meeting occurred after their loss to Milwaukee on December 21. The Celtics won 7 of their last 9 games after the meeting took place, but their losses to non-playoff teams in the Heat and Magic over the week have the players thinking if the problem has resurfaced.

Irving was critical of his young teammates and how they’ve played this season, “The young guys don’t know what it takes to be a championship-level team. And if they think it is hard now, what do they think it will be like when we’re trying to get to the finals?” said Irving.

Time heals all Wounds

Even throughout these low points in the season Irving still believes in this team’s potential, “I know from the majority of the fact that we’re better than most teams in this league,” said Irving. “It’s just going out and proving it every single night and demanding it and actually showing it.”

Irving emphasized how experience has been a major issue to why this club hasn’t lived up to their potential. This is the most stacked team in the NBA and Brad Stevens has to find a way to mesh the egos of nine legit starting players into accepting new roles, which includes less playing time, low productivity and bench roles. Guys like Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum who were playing at an All-Star level last season have seen their productivity decline since Irving and Hayward returned this season.

Time will tell if the Celtics can bounce out of their inconsistency and FINALLY make a run at the number one seed. Home court advantage is going to play a major role in the playoffs with teams like Milwaukee, Toronto, Philadelphia and Indiana gunning for a spot to represent the East in the Finals since LeBron James departure to the West. We’ll see if Boston can get it together before it’s too late.

Celtics Win Wire-to-Wire Game Against Minnesota, Hayward Drops 35

It seems that Gordon Hayward loves to play against the Minnesota Timberwolves, in their December meeting Hayward scored a game high 30 points and in yesterday’s match-up he dropped a season high 35 points. Hayward torched the Timberwolves defense all game scoring as he shot 14-of-18 from the field to go along with five assists to lead Boston to a 115-102 victory at home.

“He’s going to make a lot of shots, because he’s got a lot due,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “He was disappointed in how he shot the ball, obviously, in San Antonio and got back in the gym this morning.”

Hayward is still working his way back from the gruesome leg injury suffered on opening night of the 2017-18 season that sidelined him all of last season. “When you see the ball go through the hoop, and it give you a little bit of confidence. Getting stuff in transition, some easy ones, kinda get yourself going, that stuff always feels good,” said Hayward after the game.

Terry Rozier stepped up in Irving’s absence

From the start of the game you can see Terry Rozier had that bounce in his step, as he started for the injured Kyrie Irving. In the first quarter Rozier was a perfect 5-of-5 from the field with some impressive shot making and fancy lay-ups to the basket. He would finish the game with 16-points and five assist on 32 minutes of action.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors

There’s no denying that Rozier is a true starting point guard in the league, his numbers as a starter differ from those when he comes off the bench. Rozier’s numbers are noticeably higher as a starter than as a reserve, in 22 minutes off the bench this season he’s averaging 8.1 points per game (PPG), 2.5 assists per game (APG), 3.8 rebounds per game (RPB) all while shooting 36.8 percent from the field and 34.8 percent from three-point range.

In his three games as a starter this season Rozier is averaging 16 PPG, 4.7 APG, 5.3 RPB, is shooting 56.7 percent from the field and 47.1 percent from behind the arc. Rozier’s confidence as a start results in a greater impact on the floor for Boston, before Wednesday’s game his mentality was simply to “go out there and kill.”

Third Quarter Problems Continue For the Celtics

For the second straight game the third quarter was a problem for Boston, in their prior game against San Antonio they gave up 46-points in the third. Against the Timberwolves last night the same issue came into play, the Celtics were up by 18 at the half and in the third quarter Minnesota punished Boston in the paint scoring 39 points in the quarter.

Center, Karl-Anthony Towns stuffed the stat sheet in the second half, with only four points at the half Towns finished with 28-points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. A lot of it had to do with the absence of Aron Baynes for Boston and their undersized big men in Al Horford, Daniel Theis and Guerschon Yabusele.

The Celtics continue their home stretch as Luka Doncic and the Mavericks visit TD Garden on Friday, a game Boston would very much like to win after losing their first meeting in November.