BOSTON — The Boston Celtics are without their star point guard this postseason, but his replacement got off to a blazing start Sunday afternoon.
Terry Rozier had a few struggles early in Game 1 of the Celtics’ first-round NBA playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks, but he rallied down the stretch and was an important figure in the 113-107 overtime victory.
The 24-year-old guard was a horse in his first career playoff start, totaling 40:29 minutes while scoring 23 points on 7-for-18 shooting. He hit a huge 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds in regulation, however Khris Middleton answered for the Bucks to force overtime.
Rozier went and visited Kyrie Irving at his home Friday, and on top of taking all of his shoes, Rozier also received a message on how to succeed when the spotlight is on him. Following Sunday’s win, Rozier revealed some of that message.
“First of all, me and Kyrie got a great relationship where we can just joke around, have a little fun,” Rozier said. “He basically, his message is just go out there and take what’s yours, go out there and dominate. Don’t worry about what nobody’s saying.
“I went to his house two days ago, took all his shoes, and you know he just made me feel comfortable, he’s a great guy. And whether it’s basketball talk, whether it’s joking around, he’s great at engaging with guys, he’s a great leader. I know for a fact even if I hadn’t reached out to him yet I’ve got him in my ear, I’ve got him in my corner.”
Certainly not a bad guy to have in your corner.
Rozier and other Celtics youngsters like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are being heavily relied on this postseason with guys like Irving out. Periodically throughout the regular season, Rozier had the chance to put his skills on full display in a magnified role, and each time he seemed to come through.
Now, he needs to come through more than ever, and it sounds like he’s got a pretty good support system beside him.
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