|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.
|Celtics looking for ‘locked in and engaged’ effort to handle Dwight Howard, James Harden, Rockets||at 4:36 pm ET|
The Celtics have had their fair share of success this season handling big men with big efforts from the likes of Jared Sullinger and Jae Crowder.
Last week, in the span of 24 hours, Crowder was asked to handle Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. The Celtics rallied to beat the Knicks on Friday and had James bottled up for the first half in Cleveland before James and the Cavaliers wore down the Celtics in the second half.
The Celtics didn’t have their best defensive effort against DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers but they found a way in overtime.
Against the Kevin Durant-less Thunder in November, they allowed Russell Westbrook 27 points but Serge Ibaka scored just 16 and the Celtics beat the Thunder, 100-85, in Oklahoma City. And against the very team they face tonight at the Garden, they held Dwight Howard to four shots, five points and 12 rebounds in 30 minutes. James Harden was just 4-of-10 in 30 minutes for a total of 16 points. The two combined to make just 6-of-14 shots as Boston prevailed in Houston, 111-95, on Nov. 16.
“Like I’ve been saying all year, all five guys on the court have to be so locked in and engaged on taking away what they like to do and just making it tough for them,” Crowder said. “We have a great game plan going into tomorrow night. We’ll throw a lot of different coverages at those guys on the pick-and-rolls and stuff like that. It takes all five guys. It’s just not one player against their scorers or one player against Dwight. It just takes all five guys to get him off the glass and do everything. I think once we have that, we have control of the game.”
Howard is still regarded as one of the best pick-and-roll players in the league.
“I don’t know if he’s the best,” Crowder added. “I know he’s a heckuva player. I know you’re aware that he’s down there. He’s a good presence and he’s a vocal part of their team. Try to take it away.”
The Rockets come in at 32-32 and in the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. The Rockets were not able to trade Howard at the trade deadline. Since holding onto Howard, the Rockets are 5-4, including two straight wins. Howard, to his credit, has responded. In those nine games, Howard is averaging 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds, including 9-for-12 from the field in each of Houston’s last two games.
“Howard’s playing at a really good level,” Brad Stevens said. “I think he’s like 18 and 13 over his past seven games or so. Harden’s numbers are off the charts again for the year. And they’re more healthy than I remember them being when we played them last.
“Obviously, you’ve got [Patrick] Beverley back in the lineup. He’s a winning player. He makes a lot of great plays for them. And then [Donatas] Motiejunas is playing more now since he’s been back and starting. And obviously he had his career high last year here. So a lot of good talented players in addition to [Trevor] Ariza and [Corey] Brewer who are kind of their glue on the wings. Those guys are tough to play against. It’s a highly-talented team. I mean, they were in the Western semis for a reason last year and we’re going to have to play really well.”
“We always had the same goal,” Crowder added. “We came into the season with the same goals and this just gets a step closer to where we want to be, and that’s win a playoff series and build from last year. We got to the playoffs last year. We didn’t win any games so we want to win a series now and build from that and build from that. Right now, we’re headed in the right direction. We just have to keep winning, keep taking care of us each and every day, which is at practice. Come game time, we’ll be prepared and ready.”
|Celtics keep quiet at the deadline||02.18.16 at 3:45 pm ET|
There were no earth-shaking moves to be made.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge worked the phones over the last week but ultimately the reports that he didn’t want to pay “premium prices” for premium talent proved accurate.
Instead of adding a rental like Dwight Howard or Al Horford or an expensive piece like Kevin Love, Ainge decided to stay put and hold onto his three first-round picks, including Brooklyn’s likely lottery pick this June.
As it turned out, Howard, Horford and Love all stayed with their respective teams in Houston, Atlanta and Cleveland.
There were several lower-tier deals, including former Celtics forward Jeff Green being sent to the Clippers, where he will be reunited with his old coach Doc Rivers. The Clippers send Lance Stephenson and a first-round pick to Memphis in return.
The Hawks did make a couple of deals. They acquired veteran shooting guard Kirk Hinrich from the Bulls for a second-round pick. Atlanta also traded guard Shelvin Mack to Utah for a second-round pick. Mack played for Celtics coach Brad Stevens at Butler.
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