Moore and Johnson reflect on loss of Allen

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Moore and Johnson reflect on loss of Allen

ORLANDO, Fla. - Boston Celtics guard E'Twaun Moore counts Ray Allen among the
many Celtic players who helped him in his transition to the NBA last season.

At the end of the day, Moore understands Allen's decision to sign a three-year deal worth more than 9 million with the Miami Heat is just part of the business of being an NBA player.

"I didn't really know what was going on," Moore said. "It's kind of surprising. But that's a decision he has to make for himself."

It was a decision that might benefit Moore who comes into this summer league trying to do enough to warrant the C's bringing him back for a second season.

That path became a little more clearer with Allen's decision to not return to Boston and accept a two-year deal worth 12 million.

"It gives me a greater chance (of making the team)," Moore said of Allen's departure. "I just have to take advantage of it."

With the C's already having a backcourt of Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley and
soon-to-be acquired Jason Terry, the addition of Allen would have made it a lot
tougher for the Celtics to justify keeping Moore when they have so many other
holes in their roster in need of addressing.

"He's gone," Moore said. "So now I just have to worry about me and go ahead and play."

Moore's play, especially his confidence in his shot, has been aided by spending a year with Allen who has made more 3s (2,718 and counting) than any player in NBA history.

Many of the lessons needed to achieve such a milestone, Allen has passed on that knowledge to players like Moore.

"He definitely shared his wisdom," Moore said. "Especially on keeping your body healthy; make sure you take care of yourself by staying in shape. Those were some of the things he always talked about."

Although they play different positions, Boston forward JaJuan Johnson counts Allen among the Boston veterans to provide some guidance and direction during his first season as well.

"He was a great teammate," Johnson told CSNNE.com. "The biggest thing Ray did, was lead by example. He always stuck to the 'true team' concept, always professional. Those were the two things I take away from being around Ray."

Celtics assistant coach Tyronn Lue who is coaching the C's summer league team, counts himself among those who will miss having Allen around.

As much as Allen helped him and the coaching staff's job become easier, the impact he made on the team's young players - like Moore and Johnson - was one of Allen's strengths that often went unnoticed.

"Ray's the ultimate professional. He comes ready to play, everyday," Lue said. "The same workout he's been doing for the last 15 years. Young guys will miss him, but other guys will step up and take on the responsibility."

Lue, like most Celtic fans, is still processing the idea that No. 20's last big shot around these parts was the one he delivered on Friday when he decided to take his sweet-looking shot to South Beach instead of sticking around and making another run at Banner 18.

"I was shocked," Lue said of Allen's decision. "I see Ray as a Celtic. But in this business, you have to do what's best for you. I guess he thought Miami was best for him."

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."