Celtics Notes: James Young Makes Strides; Brad Stevens Talks Colts’ Fake Punt

by abournenesn

October 19, 2015

BOSTON — Want a spot in the Celtics’ backcourt? Get in line.

The C’s enter the 2015-16 season with plenty of depth at the guard position, a fact Terry Rozier reiterated in Monday night’s 111-105 preseason win over the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden.

With Isaiah Thomas among three Celtics sidelined, Rozier was the star of the night for Boston, scoring a game-high 16 points off the bench.

The Celtics also have the services of Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley — who each played 20-plus minutes Monday — and rookie R.J. Hunter, which begs the question: Is there room on this roster for James Young?

The second-year pro has been up and down this preseason, but he made his strongest case for a roster spot Monday night, knocking down a pair of key 3-pointers in the second half despite not playing at all in the first.

After the game, head coach Brad Stevens admitted he’s liked what he’s seen from the 20-year-old Kentucky product.

“He’s making shots in workouts and practice at a good level now the last couple weeks,” Stevens said. “His workout shooting has been really good, so it didn’t surprise me that he made those shots.

“That being said, it’s hard to be fairly cold and play (15) straight minutes and make big ones when the game is kind of in balance. I thought he kind of separated the game, which was really good.”

Let’s dive into a few more notes from Monday’s affair:

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— Both Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier returned to action after missing the team’s last two preseason games.

It’s safe to say Rozier stole the show.

The rookie guard recorded team highs in both minutes (28) and points scored (16). His energy and athleticism were apparent, as he elicited several “oohs” and “ahhs” from the TD Garden crowd thanks to a handful of exciting plays.

Stevens told reporters before the game this would be a big week for Rozier, and the Celtics coach praised the Louisville product’s energy level after the contest.

“Pretty good for being out for a week,” Stevens said of Rozier’s performance. “I thought Terry could’ve gone another 20 minutes, probably. Just kind of had that look about him.”

— Rookie forward Jordan Mickey flashed some athleticism late in the game, coming up with an impressive reverse jam off a nifty pass from Jonas Jerebko.


If Mickey’s pre-game comments are any indication, we can expect a lot more dunks from the 21-year-old in the future.

“I always look to try to dunk the ball,” Mickey said. “I was always told, ‘try to give people something to remember you by,’ so I try to go and dunk the ball and give them something to remember me (by).”

— Thomas (soreness), Jae Crowder (thumb) and David Lee (illness) all sat out Monday night’s contest. Lee has strep throat — the same ailment that kep Smart out of both games in New York — so it appears there’s something going around in the locker room.

— Because it’s the preseason, Stevens, an Indianapolis native, was asked after the game to weigh in on the Colts’ loss to the New England Patriots, specifically Indy’s ill-advised fake punt.

“I learned a long time ago — and I say this very sincerely — that there’s a reason for everything, and I’m not educated enough to make an assessment,” Stevens said. “Being in coaching has taught me even more, that if I give an opinion, it would not be a very smart opinion. Because there’s got to be a reason, right?”

One would think, Brad. One would think.

Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Boston Celtics guard James Young (L) and forward Jonas Jerebko (R) celebrate against the Brooklyn Nets during the second half at TD Garden.
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