|Terry Rozier gets his chance to prove doubters wrong: ‘A lot of people doubt me since I’ve been here’||03.12.16 at 10:13 am ET|
With Jae Crowder down with an sprained ankle the and the Celtics struggling badly to handle the big men of the Rockets, Brad Stevens got creative Friday night. And rookie Terry Rozier was ready at the call.
He was inserted in the lineup late in the third quarter and provided a spark to an already small lineup that was without a key big man.
“Just stayed in the gym. A lot of people doubt me since I’ve been here. I don’t even want to get into that but just stay ready,” Rozier said. “Just stay in the gym. I’ve got a good group of guys around me that help me stay ready so with them, the coaches and me being the gym a lot, it just built my confidence up a lot.”
Rozier played just over 10 minutes, his most playing time since 12 minutes against Orlando in a 19-point loss on Nov. 29.
The Celtics lost 102-98 but the biggest bright spot that came from the defeat was how the rookie out of Louisville handled himself off the bench when the game was still up for grabs.
With 2:22 left in the third quarter and the Celtics trailing by just five, 73-68, Rozier came in for Isaiah Thomas and provided a spark, and showed no hesitation. His first shot was a made 3-pointer with 11:17 left in the fourth, cutting the Rockets’ lead to three, 79-76. Most impressively, Rozier hit the glass, grabbing seven rebounds in 10 minutes, including three off the offensive glass.
“I didn’t know my number was going to get called,” Rozier said. “When I got off the bench, I was like, ‘I’m just going to play hard, no matter what.’ Coach knows I’m a good rebounder, so that’s one of the things I wanted to do. Go help our bigs, go help our team, go rebound and just push the ball and just try to create for my teammates. I tried to do the best I could. It just kind of worked out for me.”
“I felt like when we put Terry in – the key question whenever you’re that small is ‘Can you hold your ground?’ number one; number two is, ‘Can you rebound?’ And I thought Terry rebounded as well as anybody on our team,” Stevens said. “So, that was really encouraging and that’s what he does well and so we decided to play that kind of small. And it was probably good for a little bit and probably ran its course.”
In a season that has seen not one but two teams make a legitimate run at winning every home game, the Celtics had a nice home court run of their own at 14 games coming into Friday night.
But the Rockets’ size and the Celtics’ cold shooting (8-of-31 from long distance) put an end to that Friday in a 102-98 Houston victory at TD Garden.
The last time the Celtics lost at home was Jan. 6 to Detroit. In that span, the Celtics went on the longest home winning streak since the TD Garden opening in 1995 and the longest since an 18-game run in 1991.
“We didn’t really know what that felt like,” Isaiah Thomas said of the loss. “It was tough, getting that feeling again, especially at home. I feel like we let our fans down. [The] good thing about the NBA, short memory, you got another game in a few days.”
The Celtics hit the road for a game in Indiana Tuesday before hosting the Thunder on Wednesday night. The Celtics play three of their next four on the road, also playing in Toronto next Friday before a game in Philadelphia next Sunday.
During their 14-game run, the Celtics were able to take advantage of the home crowd and feed off the energy, coming from behind at halftime in four of their previous five home games.
But on Friday against the Rockets, the Celtics were never able to find an offensive rhythm in the second half, shooting just 37.4 percent for the game.
“Man, we couldn’t hit shots, point blank, period,” Thomas said. “We came back. We were getting the shots we wanted, and they were just going in and out.”
The Golden State Warriors are 29-0 at home this season and extend their own NBA record for home wins (spanning two seasons) with each successive victory. Their streak currently stands at 46 games. The Spurs are 31-0 on their home court and have a string of 40 straight wins, tying the Orlando Magic for the third-longest in NBA history.
|Mike Petraglia, Sam Packard on how Celtics home court streak ended against the Rockets||03.11.16 at 11:58 pm ET|
James Harden had 32 points and Dwight Howard chipped in with 12 points and 12 rebounds as the Houston Rockets snapped the 14-game home winning streak of the Celtics, 102-98, Friday night at TD Garden. Isaiah Thomas had 30 points to lead the Celtics, while Jared Sullinger added 24 points and 12 rebounds. Celtics forward Jae Crowder suffered a high sprain of his right ankle in the third quarter and will have an MRI on Saturday. The Celtics fell to 39-27 while the Rockets improved to 33-32.
|Brad Stevens has ‘positive vibes’ about Jae Crowder and his high ankle sprain, MRI Saturday||at 11:19 pm ET|
The Celtics and coach Brad Stevens might be holding their breath a bit on Saturday.
An MRI has been scheduled for forward Jae Crowder, who suffered a high sprain of his right ankle in the third quarter of Friday’s 102-98 loss to the Rockets at TD Garden.
Crowder was driving to the basket for a layup and came down awkwardly under the basket. The injury happened with 9:08 left in the third quarter. He fell to the floor and was slow to get to his feet. He limped down court and initially stayed in the game before coming out for Evan Turner a minute later. He did not return.
“I was on a fast break, and I came down in an awkward way, and I got up and I didn’t feel good,” Crowder said. “Come to find out I just sprained it. High ankle sprain.”
It may not have felt good but the prognosis is promising, according to Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
“So Jae sprained his right ankle, twisted it in. Doesn’t have much swelling right now so it looks good,” Stevens added.
“They’re going to do an MRI on it [Saturday] and figure out if there’s anything above what they think right now. But I got mostly positive vibes as I was talking to him and then also to our doctors and trainers that it won’t be a long-term thing. But we’ll see. We’ll know more [Saturday].”
“It affects us because he’s a big part of this team,” added Isaiah Thomas. “We need a guy like that out there. At the end of the day, when something like that happens, someone else has to step up, fill his shoes and step up, and we just fell short.”
Well Suzyn, in life all good things come to an end.
The Celtics had their 14-game home winning streak snapped after a 102-98 loss to the Houston Rockets on Friday night.
James Harden was dominant down the stretch, scoring 23 of his 32 points in the second half. Michael Beasley, playing in only his fourth game this season after starting the season in China, added 18 off the bench.
Jared Sullinger recorded a his 21st double-double, scoring a season-high 25 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the loss. Isaiah Thomas (30) and Avery Bradley (16) were the only other Celtics in double-figures.
After trailing by as much as eleven, the Celtics made a number of runs in the second half, but were never able to overtake the Rockets. The team especially struggled to make shots, finishing a dismal 37 percent from the field.
The (39-26) Celtics will travel to Indiana to play the Pacers on Tuesday night, before returning home to play Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and the Oaklohoma City Thunder on Wednesday night at the Garden.
Brad Stevens has always appreciated the value of Evan Turner, even before he was the No. 2 overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft by the Sixers.
“I’ve known Evan for a long time,” Stevens said of the product of St. Joseph High in Westchester, Ill. “I didn’t know him great in high school. I didn’t know him great when he was in college, but he played for my first boss, so I know a lot about him. I know what he’s made of. He’s just a great basketball guy. To me, you always enjoy having guys like that on your team. Then you have to earn being comfortable with your play and he’s done a good job of that.”
He made such a reputation that it followed him to Ohio State, where he and Jared Sullinger made a name for themselves. It was Turner’s desperation shot at the buzzer that beat Michigan in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
“I lived in Indianapolis when he hit that shot for Ohio State to beat Michigan from about 40 feet away,” Stevens recalled before Friday’s game. “The guy’s always had a knack for making big plays and making big shots. He enjoys those moments.”
Those moments continued in the pros, most notably when he beat the Celtics in Jan. 2014 with a buzzer-beater over Sullinger. Playing for Stevens’ Celtics, he beat the Hawks, 89-88, in Feb. 2015 on another buzzer-beater.
“He’s always been a good down the stretch player,” Stevens said. “My first year here we’re playing Philly and he beat us on kind of a spinning move in the lane where he took contact and somehow threw it up.
“He’ll go to a high school game on the road,” Stevens said. “He’ll go to a college game on the road. He’ll talk about some small conference college game he was watching the night before on TV or an NBA game he was watching, just getting people talking about basketball, thinking about basketball and having that kind of passion about it.”
The status remains the same on Kelly Olynyk.
The 7-foot sharp-shooter was ruled out Friday night before the Celtics took the court against the Rockets, the 11th straight game he’s missed since partially separating his right shoulder in the first half against the Clippers on Feb. 10.
“[He’s] not playing. We didn’t do anything today,” Stevens said before Friday’s game. “I’m assuming he’ll just stay on the same path of progress and feel better and better as he move towards next week’s games.”
The Celtics play four of their next five on the road, visiting Indiana next Tuesday before coming home to play the Thunder on Wednesday at the Garden. They will head on the road to play in Toronto next Friday and in Philadelphia on March 20.
As for Jared Sullinger and his skin infection that had him wearing a wrap around his stomach against Memphis, Stevens said he was again ready to go. Sullinger hasn’t missed any game action but hasn’t taken part in the team’s practice on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday. Stevens said the team didn’t want Sullinger to “overdo it” in practice and re-hydrate after the events earlier in the week.
“He looks to me like he’s got a different bounce,” Stevens said pre-game Friday. “We did a little jog-through and he looked good.”
Sullinger was limited to just 12 points and five rebounds in 21 minutes against Memphis, as his stomach wrap had to be re-applied. In his nine previous games, Sullinger was averaging 12.4 points and 10.6 rebounds, including five double-doubles.
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Austin Ainge Offers Window to C's Pre-Draft Process
- Trade Possibilities for C's with Draft Approaching
- Latest Buzz Surrounding Jamal Crawford, Kristaps Porzingis, Celtics'...
- Latest NBA Trade Rumors, Buzz
- Ranking Celtics' Biggest NBA Draft Needs
- Buzz Surrounding Ty Lawson, Celtics Draft Plans and More
- Realistic Targets for Celtics to Chase During Offseason