Jason Terry's past collides with his present tomorrow

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Jason Terry's past collides with his present tomorrow

BOSTON Jason Terry's journey from Dallas to Boston, and to where he is today, has gone through its share of stages.

First there was surprise that the Mavericks, the team he spent the bulk of his career with (including an NBA title run in 2011), didn't look to match the three-year, 15 million deal that the Celtics offered.

Then came the disappointment of that decision.

"The Mavs wanted to go in a different direction," Terry told CSNNE.com recently. "That's part of the business. You're not always going to like it, but it is what it is."

From there, Terry embraced the acceptance of his new team in a new city, with a new fan base that has welcomed him with open arms.

But in all this, Terry is human.

And no matter what he or any NBA player says, there's always a desire -- even if it's a slight one -- to seek revenge on a team that essentially didn't want you around any more.

Look at Kevin Garnett. He tends to play some of his best basketball against his former team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have yet to beat Garnett since he left.

So it's fair to say Terry has been looking forward to Wednesday night's game against his former team for quite a while -- like since the schedules came out this summer.

"I had a great time in Dallas, and I still have a lot of friends and people I care about there, both in the city and within the organization," Terry said recently. "But that's part of my past. My present is here with the Boston Celtics. And my mindset going into that game is the same as it is every game, to win. That's what it's all about."

Winning was something that became habitual with Terry during his eight seasons with the Mavericks.

They went to the playoffs in each of his eight seasons, advanced to the NBA Finals twice, and ultimately won the franchise's first NBA title in 2011.

Terry had a slew of memorable plays and moments during his time in Dallas, but few stick out more than the 2011 NBA Finals against Miami when he called out LeBron James prior to Game 4. At the time, the Mavericks trailed the series, two games to one.

"Let's see if James can defend me like that for seven games," Terry said at the time.

Dallas won Game 4 in large part because of Terry's 17 points off the bench, while James had just eight.

From there, the Mavericks went on to win the last two games and the series.

And while Terry's scoring was what stood out to many during Dallas' title run, his head coach at the time remembers Terry's contributions coming in so many other areas of the game, as well.

"I always considered him a terrific all-around player," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told CSNNE.com. "He can play every facet of the game. Our championship year, he played an all-around game. He scored, he made plays, he took care of the ball, he defended his matchup."

Carlisle, a former Celtic, added, "He is a very, very special guy to this organization. When you consider the fact that he was one of the best players on that team all those years, most of that period of time he not only accepted but embraced the role of coming off the bench and helping the team win. That made him even more special."

Carlisle understands how challenging it can be for a player to embrace coming off the bench when they have most likely spent the bulk of their high school, college and possibly pro career as a starter.

"I would sum it up in one word: Special," said Carlisle, a reserve guard on the Celtics' 1986 championship team. "There aren't a lot of guys in this league that would readily embrace that kind of challenge, and be willing to stay with it on a year-to-year basis. He not only did it, but he did it at the highest level."

Terry points to the fact that his comfort level coming off the bench dates back to his days at Arizona, when he was a reserve guard on the Wildcats' national championship team in 1997.

"Whatever role I'm given, I learned a while ago you do it to the best of your ability and good things will happen," said Terry, who years later went on to become Pac-10 Player of the Year and an eventual top-10 draft pick.

"For me, it's all about winning championships. That's why I'm here; to win a championship."

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

BOSTON – Prior to Saturday’s game, Terry Rozier talked to CSNNE.com about the importance of staying ready always, because “you never know when your name or number is going to be called.”

Like when trailing by three points in the fourth quarter with less than 10 seconds to play?

Yes, Rozier was on the floor in that scenario and the second-year guard delivered when his team needed it.

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But Rozier’s fourth quarter heroics which forced overtime against Portland, did not provide that much-needed jolt that Boston needed as the Blazers managed to fend off the Celtics in overtime, 127-123.

For Rozier’s part, he had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

The 15 points scored for Rozier was the most for him since he tallied 16 in a 30-point Celtics win at Orlando on Dec. 7.

But more than the points, the decision by head coach Brad Stevens to draw up a play for him in that moment, a time when most of what Boston does revolves around the shooting of Isaiah Thomas who has been among the top-3 scorers in the fourth quarter most of this season, was surprising to many.

And at that point in the game, Thomas already had 13 fourth-quarter points.

Stevens confirmed after the game that the last shot in the fourth was indeed for Rozier, but Thomas’ presence on the floor was important to its execution.

“He (Thomas) also draws a lot of attention,” Stevens said. “So I think you just weigh kind of … what kind of shot you’re going to get, depending on who it is.”

Rozier had initially screened for Thomas, and Thomas came back and screened for him.

“I was open as soon as I caught … and I let it fly,” Rozier said. “Coach drew up a play for me and it felt good to see the ball go in.”

Being on the floor at that time, win or lose, was a victory of sorts for Rozier.

He has seen first-hand how quickly the tide can change in the NBA for a young player.

After a strong summer league showing and a solid training camp, Rozier had earned himself a firm spot in the team’s regular rotation.

But a series of not-so-great games coupled with Gerald Green’s breakout night on Christmas Day, led to his playing time since then becoming more sporadic.

Rozier, in an interview with CSNNE.com, acknowledged it hasn’t been easy going from playing regular minutes to not being sure how much court time, if any, he would receive.

But he says the veterans on the team have been good about keeping his spirits up, and one in particular – Avery Bradley – has been especially helpful.

Like Rozier, Bradley’s first couple of years saw his playing time go from non-existent to inconsistent. But Bradley stayed the course and listened to the team’s veterans who continued to tell him that his hard work would pay off sooner or later.

Those same words of wisdom Bradley received in his early days, he passes on to Rozier.

“It’s big,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “He (Bradley) tells me things like that. I felt I was ready for this (inconsistent minutes) after all that he told me. It’s big to have a guy like him that has been through it all with a championship team, been around this organization for a while; have him talk to you is big. It’s always good. That’s why I stay positive, and be ready.”

Which is part of the reason why Stevens didn’t hesitate to call up a play for the second-year guard despite him being a 33.3 percent shooter from 3-point range this season – that ranks eighth on this team, mind you.

“He’s a really good shooter,” Stevens said of Rozier. “I think with more opportunity that will show itself true, but he made some big ones in the fourth quarter. We went to him a few different times out of time-outs, and felt good about him making that one.”

And to know that Stevens will turn to him not just to spell Thomas or one of the team’s other guards, but to actually make a game-altering play in the final seconds … that’s major.

“It helps tremendously,” said Rozier who added that his confidence is through “the roof. It makes me want to do everything. You know defense, all of that. It’s great, especially to have a guy like Brad trust you."

Stars, studs and duds: Lillard steps up in second half, overtime

Stars, studs and duds: Lillard steps up in second half, overtime

BOSTON – Saturday was yet another night when the opposing team – this time it was the Portland Trail Blazers – that up the Boston Celtics with an avalanche of points that ended in a 127-123 overtime loss.

And yet through the rubble of all those lay-ups and put-back baskets and mid-range jumpers, Stevens saw something he has not seen in a while – hope that better days defensively were coming sooner rather than later.

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“As crazy as it sounds with them scoring (127) … I actually thought we were a lot closer to defending the way we want to defend," said Stevens. "I thought we were really locked into those guards, and I thought we tried to make it as tough as possible. Those guys are really good players, obviously, but I thought, I thought we did a lot of good things in that regard.”

For the most part, Boston and Portland played a relatively even game that wasn’t decided until the final minute of overtime.

“They just made more plays down the stretch,” said Boston’s Al Horford.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Saturday’s game.

 

STARS

C.J. McCollum

He tends to get second billing to Damian Lillard, but he was a first rate problem for the Celtics. He led the Blazers with 35 points on 11-for-21 shooting.

Damian Lillard

After a foul-troubled first half, Lillard stepped up like the All-Star he is in the second half to finish with 28 points and seven assists which included seven of Portland’s 14 points in overtime.

Isaiah Thomas

It was another dynamic scoring night for Thomas, finishing with a game-high 41 points which included 21 in the fourth quarter and overtime.


STUDS

Terry Rozier

Making the most of his chance to play due to injuries and illnesses, Rozier came up with a number of big shots all night. He finished with 15 points which included a 3-pointer with 8.4 seconds in the fourth that forced overtime.

Mason Plumlee

In addition to doing a solid job protecting the rim, Plumlee also tallied a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds while dishing out a game-high eight assists.

Meyers Leonard

Easily the big X-factor of the game, Leonard had 17 points off the bench on 6-for-7 shooting.

 

DUDS

Celtics Turnovers

This is the one area where the Celtics have been really good all season. Saturday? Not so much. Boston turned the ball over a season-high 21 times which accounted for 34 points for the Blazers.