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Terry Rozier ready to make impact on Celtics back court

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Strong postseason showing coupled with off-season film study has Rozier confident he’ll contribute in 2016-17.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Boston Celtics Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Second-year guard Terry Rozier will be fighting for time in the Celtics backcourt rotation behind Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley. The lead-up to that fight continues tonight at the Mullins Center in Amherst, MA as the Celtics begin their preseason against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Rozier, a Cleveland native, spoke with Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net about the pros and cons of playing behind an All-Star in Thomas. Here’s a few quotes from Amico’s story:

“It was a blessing to learn so much from (Thomas) my rookie season — seeing the things he did on the court, seeing what it takes to be an All-Star. If you work hard enough and go against him every day, you’ve got no choice but to get better. He does a great job of leading by example. [But] it’s difficult, because you want to get out there and play,” Rozier said.

As a rookie, Rozier averaged eight minutes a game and appeared in 39 games for Boston with stints with the Maine Redclaws scattered throughout the season. The 6-foot-2 Louisville product averaged 1.8 points per game and less than three shots per game.

In the Celtics’ first-round playoff matchup against the Atlanta Hawks last season, Rozier made a strong case to earn more playing time. He averaged 4.8 PPG, 3-4 RPG, and shot 36 percent from long range in 19.7 minutes during the series.

Rozier spoke with Amico about his meticulous film study in the off-season with hopes of making an impact on the Celtics’ guard rotation.

“I’m trying to become a smarter point guard,” he told Amico Hoops. “It’s probably the most important position in the league. If you don’t have the brains to play the position it only makes it tougher on yourself. So I try to do a lot of film study. I want to see the areas that I need to improve.”

His work in the off-season and presence on the court during training camp has caught the attention of his Celtics teammates, like forward Jae Crowder.

“He’s coming to work every day, trying to get some minutes,” Crowder told Celtics.com. “He wants to play. It’s very obvious he wants to play bad and he’s having a great training camp so far.”