If the New England Patriots are looking for defensive back help as they prepare for the NFL playoffs, they wouldn’t have to look very far to bolster their depth at the position.
Terry Rozier is a strong two-way player, but the Boston Celtics guard looked more like a cornerback on his game-winning play against the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.
With Boston trailing by one with 9.3 seconds remaining, all the Pacers seemingly had to do was accept a foul, sink a pair of free throws and hope the Celtics didn’t knock down a game-tying, desperation 3-pointer. Unfortunately for Indiana, its comeback win slipped through its fingers thanks to Rozier’s heroics, which lifted Boston to a 112-111 victory.
Check it out in the clip below:
So how did Rozier pull off this incredible sequence? The 23-year-old broke it down after the game.
“We go into this diamond defense, with Kyrie (Irving) and (Marcus) Smart on the first trap,” he said, as seen on NBC Sports Boston’s Celtics postgame coverage. “Smart was trying to yell, ‘I’m fouling, I’m fouling,’ but the ref never called it. Then he (Cory Joseph) threw it to (Bogan) Bogdanovic and Shane (Larkin) ran over there and he threw one more and I got the read because it was so high in the air. I was kind of like a defensive back and I got to get the steal and the dunk.”
Rozier’s late-game effort saved the Celtics from a potentially embarrassing loss. The C’s held a 19-point lead in the first quarter, but the Pacers chipped away and nearly pulled off an impressive comeback win.
But luck was on the Celtics’ side Monday night, and the Green will take a win any way they can get one.
Here are some other notes from Celtics-Pacers:
— Boston became the first team to win a game this season after trailing by five or more with 20 seconds left in regulation.
— Irving paced the Celtics with 30 points. In eclipsing the 20-point threshold, the point guard joined some pretty impressive company.
— Al Horford notched his eighth double-double of the season with 14 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. He recorded eight double-doubles in 68 regular-season games last season.
— The Pacers spent much of their time at the free-throw line, connecting on 30 of 38 (!) attempts from the charity stripe compared to Boston’s 8-of-14 line. It’s the third time since 2000 the Celtics have won despite an opponent making 22-plus free throws.
— Smart (15 points) posted a perfect 4-for-4 line from beyond the arc.