Moore demonstrates growth in return to Boston

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Moore demonstrates growth in return to Boston

BOSTON -- E'Twaun Moore was surprised when he heard the news. He had been expecting to be told the Boston Celtics were picking up his contract. Instead, they informed him he had been traded to the Houston Rockets.

"I was just surprised," Moore said in his first return to the TD Garden on Friday. "Of course I didn't know it was about to happen. At the moment I was just shocked."

Moore had posted 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists in his final Las Vegas Summer League game and thought he had shown enough to earn a spot on the Celtics roster this season. Even though he played limited minutes his rookie year, he demonstrated his potential when given the opportunity on the court.

The Celtics were eyeing another guard, though. They packaged Moore, JaJuan Johnson, Sasha Pavlovic, and Sean Williams in a multi-team deal that sent Courtney Lee to Boston in late July. The Rockets then waived Moore shortly after, leaving the former 55th overall pick looking for a job.

Unsure of where he would end up, Moore believed he would land on an NBA team. In September, the Orlando Magic signed him as a free agent and gave him the chance to put what he had learned out on the floor.

Moore is averaging 8.8 points, 2.5 assists, and 2.2 rebounds per game this season, including 14 points and four rebounds in the Magic's 97-84 loss to the Celtics.

"I knock down shots, play the backup point, try to help facilitate the team when I'm in," he said. "My knowledge of the game is a lot better this year. I have more of an idea of what's going on and plays teams are trying to run. From a mental standpoint, I have a better feel for what's going on."

Moore spent most of his rookie season watching the Celtics veterans from the sidelines. Now that he has the opportunity to play increased minutes, he is utilizing all the wisdom and mental notes he gained during his year in Boston.

"I'm just trying to put it all together on the court," he said.

Crowder on Cousins' style: 'Step up to the test or you get run over'

Crowder on Cousins' style: 'Step up to the test or you get run over'

BOSTON – There was a point in the fourth quarter when Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins was fouled trying to score which brought about an automatic, intense and angry scowl from the all-star center. 

He raised his hand as he were going to strike back at the potential assailant. 

And then he saw the man was Jae Crowder. 

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Cousins, who had a game-high 28 points, then went to the free throw line, incident-free. 

“I’m not one those other cats he be punking,” said Crowder with a grin.

That moment was one of many throughout Friday night’s game when Crowder made his presence felt when the game mattered most, and wasn’t afraid to mix it up with whoever stood between him and helping the Celtics win – even Cousins. 

But as Crowder explained following Boston’s 97-92 win, that moment was about two physical players who have developed an on-the-floor rapport that speaks to their intensity and desire to win at all costs. 

“He’s going to bring the game to you; his physicality,” said Crowder who had 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. “He’s a very physical type of guy. If he senses you’re not physical at all, he’ll let you know. He’s a dog down there; he’s a bull. I love to go against a player like that. He’s going to give you his best shot each and every night. You either step up to the test or you get run over.” 

As soon as the two made eye contact, Crowder knew it was one of the many intimidation methods used by Cousins against opposing players. 

Crowder wasn’t having it. 

“That’s my guy; he’s my guy,” Crowder said of Cousins. “He plays a lot of tactics against a lot of other players. I’ve earned that respect with him. He knows I’m going to fight him just as hard as anybody else. We leave it on the court. He’s a good friend of mine. We’ve become friends, just playing ball, playing basketball the right way.”