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The Read & React: Rozier future after Kyrie shuts himself down

When Kyrie Irving didn’t return for the second half, Terry Rozier showed that his break out in February is for real.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Sy: There’s no denying Terry Rozier’s accelerated development this year. After hovering around 9 ppg all season, Rozier turned in his best month of his career. In February, the third year guard averaged 15.5 points, shot 45.9% from behind the line, and dished out 3.5 assists in 27.7 minutes per game. After a triple double and a 31-point performance in two games starting for Kyrie Irving, Scary Terry joked that he saw himself as a starter in this league. Well, with Kyrie sitting out the second half of last night’s loss to the Pacers, he may get an extended look with the first unit.

Rozier finished the night with a 16-6-2 line and nearly came up clutch to tie the game at the buzzer. With his improved stroke from 3, he’s figured out how to chain together his tighter handle and very good footwork to get to the rim and attack the second level of the defense. His floater game is better and he’s settling for fewer 15-footers and taking it to the rack.

But as good as Rozier has been, there is room for continued improvement and development. Rozier, for all his speed, strength, and twitchy athleticism, has not figured out how to slow his game and and make plays in that small PnR window. It’s a skill that Marcus Smart picked up last year and it has allowed him to bully ball in the paint. Rozier leads the team in assist-to-turnover ratio, but that’s just a tool that he doesn’t have yet. Too often, Rozier gets baited to leave the floor and possessions end with a Rozier flip and a prayer or a pass into traffic.

Tim MacLean: Welp. It turns out the Celtics have some trouble finding offense when they’re missing Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, and Jaylen Brown. The third quarter was particularly rough with the Pacers outscoring Boston 34-20 and it’s no coincidence the Celtics began to struggle in the second half with Irving unable to return. Marcus Smart (20 points), Jayson Tatum (19 points) and Terry Rozier (16 points) picked up the slack a bit but it would’ve been nice to see Marcus Morris score more than 10 points. If Irving finishes this game the Celtics most likely win, but he didn’t. Boston will need to find other ways to create offense if he is forced to miss more time.

Simon Pollock: You’re right TJ. AND:

Take a good hard look at the variety of bench-heavy lineups, each featuring interesting players that are either young and developing or older and flawed.

Jayson Tatum balanced moments of brilliance tonight with some noticeable miscommunications. Here’s a look at the former, featuring the young rookie leading the break, reading the play, and making a great pass off a shot fake.

That’s an exciting play. The house went nuts. You could heap positive narrative about Danny Ainge and lottery picks and future banners onto that play.

Then there were not-so exciting plays. Here’s Tatum with a bad turnover, miscommunicating with Greg Monroe who was looking for an entry pass to the post.

Sure, Monroe’s still new in Boston. His teammates are still adjusting to having a clinical low-post scorer drive the second unit offense. Then again, remember: Jayson Tatum can’t legally purchase alcohol yet. He’s still figuring this whole NBA thing out.

Speaking of Monroe, get a look at what it means to be a passing big.

Monroe’s rep coming into Boston was as a center with flare for offense and obvious defensive flaws. Sure enough, as Indiana started to take advantage of the depleted Celtics lineup, Oladipo started cooking Monroe in switches, blazing by for an easy look at the rim.

Through the last four games, Monroe is averaging 9.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.0 blocks. in 16.2 minutes. As he finds his rhythm, his strengths and weaknesses are becoming clearer.

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