Love owns the glass for T'Wolves in loss

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Love owns the glass for T'Wolves in loss

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - Shaquille ONeal has seen hundreds of players come and go through the NBA during his career. And then there are those to stand out to him.

Kevin Love can add his name to that list.

In only his third season in the league, Love has made a strong impression.

"Hes a great rebounder," said ONeal. "Thats what I expected -- hes been doing that all year. He did it in college. Hes a great rebounder. Guys like him only come around once every 10 years."

ONeal wasnt the only player praising Love following the Boston Celtics 96-93 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night.

Love posted 24 rebounds and 12 points in 44 minutes, recording his league-leading 30th double-double of the season.

He easily surpassed the most rebounds grabbed against the Celtics this season - 16 by Reggie Evans of the Toronto Raptors on November 21, 2010.

During the second half, Loves 19 rebounds tied the entire Celtics team combined. The Timberwolves out-rebounded the Cs, 45-30.

It was a Love fest, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said. No, no, no, I mean, Loves terrific. Hes tenacious. It hurt having Baby (Glen Davis) in foul trouble (five personal fouls) obviously because we wanted his big body on Loves big body. But, hell, I think he had 10 in the first quarter, if Im not mistaken. He gets a ton of them.

The five offensive rebounds are the ones to me that stood out more. The defensive rebounds, someones going to get the defensive rebounds. Those arent a big deal to me. But the offensive rebounds are the ones that he hurts you on.

Like Rivers and ONeal, veteran Ray Allen was also impressed by the abilities of the 22 year old. Allen could only name a handful of players who positioned themselves for rebounds as well as Love does.

I believe he has a knack for keeping his body in motion around he basket, Allen said. Hes got long arms and hes strong. Hes built like refrigerator so you cant really move him from one side to the next. Hes getting his hands on balls. And I think other guys have tendencies, you kind of look up and watch and see what the balls doing. Hes getting right to that spot and hes moving you out.

So positioning you can see with him is real key, and the last few guys that Ive seen like that - Jayson Williams, when he was with New Jersey, you just knew he was getting that rebound. And we havent had a guy like that in the NBA in a long time. Ben Wallace, you could throw his name in the pot and obviously Dennis Rodman, the best Ive ever seen do it just in the eras Ive played.

Allen believes that Love has developed such a rhythm at the basket that the ball is just kind of finding him.

Thats talent, he said. Thats I dont know what you want to call it, but he has it.

On Monday night, it was simply called dominating the boards.
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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."