He’s been called T-Rozzay, Tito Three Sticks and just plain Terry, but maybe we should all start referring to him as Mr. Triple-Double.
With Kyrie Irving (quad) and Marcus Smart (hand) both out, Terry Rozier got his first NBA start in his 165th game with Boston. He made it pay off, and then some, posting the dazzling stat line of 17 points and career highs of 11 rebounds and 10 assists. He added two steals and two blocks. It all added up to a 103-73 blowout over the New York Knicks.
Rozier became just the second NBA player ever to officially record a triple-double in his first career start (see Tweets of the Night below).
This was the often-difficult First Game Back after the long western trip, with the Cs trying to break their lingering three-game home losing streak. They were also looking for payback after being embarrassed by Michael Friggin’ Beasley in New York in December.
The Game Flow
Kristaps Porzingis had been held in check in previous meetings with the Celtics, and he seemed determined to avoid that. KP hit three of his first four shots. But Rozier was even hotter, drilling his first three shots, all from the arc, for an early 16-13 lead.
After missing the last game with a sore knee, Shane Larkin was in uniform – but when Rozier went to the bench, the Cs went big with Semi Ojeleye, Marcus Morris and the seldom-seen Abdel Nader. Al Horford was your point center – no big deal, right? – and he finished the period with four assists. Rozier had 11 points and the Cs led after one, 27-24.
Horford continued in the point center role in the second quarter whenever Rozier was off the floor. Both teams struggled to make shots for most of the period, although Morris had nine points in the frame. At halftime, Porzingis had 13 points and Enes Kanter 10 for New York, while Jaylen Brown led the Celts with 12. Boston led, 50-45.
Jayson Tatum, who struggled in the first half, opened the second with a dunk off a set play. Rozier scored off a putback, then stole on outlet pass and fed Aron Baynes for a short jumper. Horford got loose for a couple of layups, and when Tatum hit a foul-line jumper, the Cs led by nine. Only Kanter was keeping the Knicks in it with some strong work on the offensive boards.
Late in the quarter, Morris hit a straightaway three, Jaylen flipped in a gorgeous runner around Porzingis’ block attempt, and Morris drained a midrange jumper for a 7-2 burst. The Cs led, 76-60, and the Knicks called time.
In the final minute of the third, Morris picked up a loose ball and went in for a dunk with Beasley giving chase. As Mook slammed it home, Beasley whacked him in the head and Morris lost his balance, slamming hard to the floor. His hip took the worst of it. Meanwhile, the refs incredibly missed the foul, and the Knicks inbounded while Mook was sprawled out. To stop play, the Cs had to foul away from the ball, which in the final minute gave the Knicks a free throw and a new possession. Literally, insult to injury. Morris hobbled to the locker room and said later he’ll have to wait and see how it feels in the morning.
Boston led, 81-65, heading to the fourth, and seemed fired up after the Morris injury. After Beasley made a flip shot, the Celts ran off 18 straight points to take a 32-point lead. Nader, Semi, Theis and Tatum all buried outside shots, and when Rozier connected with Theis on an alley oop, his triple-double was complete. The Celts won the last quarter, 22-8.
- Besides Rozier, Horford was the floor general and did it all: 14 points, 6-12 shooting, nine rebounds, five assists, two steals.
- Morris scored 20 off the bench on 6-9 shooting and now has scored double figures in nine straight games.
- Nader had his best game yet. The rookie made both his attempts from the arc and finished with a career-high 10 points.
- Kanter had 17 points (7-10 shooting) and 17 rebounds.
- Jayson Tatum, 2-8 shooting in the first half, and one of the ugliest airballs ever seen on a wide-open three. (But he finished with 15 points.)
- At halftime, Ojeleye, Baynes and Theis had played a combined 25 minutes, had attempted zero shots, and were scoreless. (But they all improved and made shots in the second half.)
- New York shot just 28-87 (32.6%). Tim Hardaway, Jr. was the worst Knick, 1-10 for only four points.
What the Hell Just Happened?
Jaylen yammed on the 7’3” Unicorn, with an inside-out dribble move and off the wrong foot. That’s what the hell happened.
Tweets of the Night