After a rookie season filled with promise, Terry Rozier delivered in the biggest moment possible in Summer League play to bring his team back to life in the final minute and win yet again. Catching a pass deep behind the three-point line and getting pressed hard by a Spurs defender, he hurled a jumper while getting shoved to the ground and looked up to watch it swoosh through the bucket and deliver a win for Boston 87-86. Rozier missed his free throw but Guerschon Yabusele was right there to grab the board and seal the win.
The free throw would have been Rozier's 24th, but instead he filled the stat sheet with 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting while scoring the final seven points. With that, he added seven rebounds and six assists, going toe-to-toe with the Spurs' Kyle Anderson who tied him for the game-high in points while adding 10 rebounds and seven assists. The Celtics remain undefeated in Summer League play, and in the aftermath all Rozier could say was that he's stepping up and ready to fill in a hole left by a departing Celtic.
Terry Rozier: "With Evan Turner not signing back to us, we need somebody to step up and I need to be that guy." #Celtics— Jared Weiss (@CLNS_JaredWeiss) July 8, 2016
Alongside Rozier, rookie Demetrius Jackson poured in 11 while James Young added 10. Dejounte Murray had 21 to combine for a one-two punch with Anderson.
Boston looked bound for their first loss as Murray exploded, scoring seven points himself between the two and one minute mark before Rozier realized it was his time to step up thanks to a helpful hint from Danny Ainge himself.
Rozier says he was "gassed," but Danny Ainge came and whispered in his ear, "I don't care how tired you are. You've got to shoot the ball."— Boston Celtics (@celtics) July 8, 2016
From there Rozier hit a driving layup and caught a ball inside from Young to lay it in and bring the Cs within one. Meanwhile, the team got two key stops on San Antonio to put the game on the line for the final possession. Yabusele went into a post-up, realized the play wasn't going anywhere, and threw it out to Rozier in desperation. At that point, with the clock ticking down, he had no choice but to let it fly as Ainge advised. The result was quite possibly the biggest play of his young career, even in an exhibition game.
The Celtics went undefeated in three Utah games behind 19.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game from Rozier. They're now on to Las Vegas, where they'll be joined by Jordan Mickey for games against the Bulls (July 9), Suns (July 10), and Mavericks (July 12).