After leading a remarkable fourth-quarter comeback in a victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, Terry Rozier has proven his worth to the Celtics rotation.
Terry Rozier spent his Sunday night taking in the sounds of rapper Young Thug at a concert in Minnesota.
Apparently, Rozier took the Atlanta lyricist’s words to heart, as he proceeded to ball on the Minnesota Timberwolves like there was no tomorrow the following night.
Article continues below ...
With the Boston Celtics trailing by 13 points at the beginning of the fourth quarter and appearing to be destined for yet another heartbreaking defeat, Rozier resurrected the squad with his fierce approach. He kicked off the run with a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 81-74 with 8:45 remaining before knocking in another three-ball with 6:54 left in the game to complete the run and tie the ballgame at 81.
Then, Rozier used his tremendous anticipation skills to deflect a lazy pass attempt by Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng into the open court. He picked up the loose ball near midcourt and sprinted ahead of the pack, flushing a ferocious dunk home with one hand to give Boston an 83-81 advantage.
All in all, in just 16 minutes, Rozier earned a +10 plus-minus rating with 12 points, four rebounds, two assists, and the aforementioned steal and chants of “MVP” from teammate Isaiah Thomas. Rozier is now the most efficient three-point shooter in the fourth quarter in the NBA, having knocked down 10 of his 11 deep balls on the season in the game’s final 12 minutes.
He has played a catalyzing role in the Celtics garnering the league’s best scoring margin (+4.9) in the fourth quarter, appearing poised in the most heightened of situations. Rozier mentioned after the game that his objective is to be a pest that hounds opposing point guards, and he performed this goal to its fullest extent throughout Boston’s 17-0 run in the final quarter of Monday night’s 99-93 victory. As a result of this tenacity, his steal percentage has risen from 0.9 last season to a steady 1.5 in 2016-17.
Rozier has not only displayed his intangibles on the defensive side of the ball, rather, his defensive rebounding has played a crucial role in improving a Celtics approach that lacks on the boards. His defensive rebounding percentage stands at a whopping 17.4 thus far, meaning that he is a consistent force on the glass for a team which direly needs it. Per 100 possessions, Rozier is averaging 8.2 rebounds on the defensive side of the ball. Per 36 minutes, he is averaging 5.9 defensive boards. While his presence on the offensive boards is much less impressive, this is telling of a positive tendency, as Rozier realizes that as the point guard, he must be the first man to recover on defense following a missed shot.
Rozier’s intensity on the defensive side of the ball only facilitates his energy on offense. A defensive rebound hands him the confidence to let a three-pointer fly on the opposite end, self-esteem which should be skyrocketing following his performance from beyond the arc as of late.