Basketball as football

959049.jpg

Basketball as football

With Doc Rivers and Rajon Rondo both in attendance at Monday night's PatriotsTexans game, you knew that football would be on everyone's mind Tuesday at Celtics practice.

And guess what? You knew right.

"Rondo is our Tom Brady, as far as being the point guardquarterback," Doc said this afternoon. "Kevin Garnett probably as far as all of the relationship stuff. Tom Brady has got to be right there as one of the best in history. It's surgical watching him play."

Asked about the comparison, Rondo said: "Point guard and quarterback are pretty much the same thing. Tom Brady? I don't know about that."

I don't know either, but I definitely agree that point guard and quarterback are cut from the same uniform cloth. And I don't think I need to explain that any further. I mean, you get it, right? We all get it. Folks have been comparing point guards and quarterbacks since the beginning of time. And I mean that literally.

But what about the other positions? How do the other four spots in a basketball line-up best relate to the NFL game?

I'd say that centers are most like middle linebackers. Ideally, they're the base of communication on the defensive end. The core that you build your entire defense around.

The power forward especially in today's game is your tight end. A guy who can get out and run, and be a factor on the offensive end when you need him to. But also a guy who's strong enough and tough enough to hold his own in the trenches; who can be gritty and grimy and smash a few heads when you need him to.

As for the last two spots? You can make an argument that both the shooting guard and small forward are receivers in their own right. They both are best when getting out in open space and filling the lanes, and those with the greatest combination of speed, size, agility and power are generally the most successful. Based on that, I'd say the shooting guards are more of a slot receiver the smaller, quicker, shiftier guys who (in the half court set) get open by maneuvering through creases in the defense. Meanwhile the small forwards (although there are exceptions) are your game breakers. Your home run hitters.

And that brings us to the baseball analogies . . .

Nah, just kidding. Maybe another day.

And definitely not tomorrow.

Much like the C's, tomorrow it's back to being all about basketball.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

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.

MORE:

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."