Rozier, C's bench delivers in miraculous victory over Pacers


BOSTON – Coming into Monday’s game against Indiana, Terry Rozier had logged more minutes off the bench (740) than any player in the NBA. But there were questions – legit questions – as to whether that was time well spent.

Rozier hasn’t shot the ball well most of the season. His defense has been solid but far from spectacular and the second unit as a whole delivered one underwhelming performance after another.

And then … last night happened!

Boston’s second unit delivered in a big way, with no one coming up any bigger than Rozier whose steal and dunk with seconds remaining proved to be the difference in Boston’s 112-111 win over the Pacers.

It was the kind of game-altering play that to be honest, fans were hoping to see more of from Rozier this season with him having a clearer path towards consistent minutes than he did in his first two seasons in Boston.

And for the Celtics, it was yet another confidence boost that regardless of how dire a situation may look, this team finds a way most nights to persevere and emerge victorious.

“When it comes down to that final buzzer,” Boston’s Kyrie Irving said after the win, “You don’t stop until it goes off.”

You hear teams talk about this all the time, but seldom is it on display so vividly as it was on Monday night when Boston rallied to win after falling behind by five points with 30 or so seconds to play. The Celtics became the first team after 379 others failed this season, to rally from such a late-game deficit and win.

“It was crazy,” Rozier said. “We never gave up, and our coaches were putting us in position, for us to win the game. We took care of business and that’s the most important thing.”

Here are five takeaways from Boston’s 112-111 win at Indiana on Monday night.



He was indeed the man of the hour following his game-winning dunk. But this game in a lot of ways, symbolized the kind of season he has had. While he’s played more minutes off the bench than anyone in the league, the Rozier effect has been as impactful as expected. But to his credit, he rose to the occasion on Monday night and delivered in a big way to help Boston get a big road win.



When the game mattered most, Kyrie Irving was once again there for the Boston Celtics to lean on. He scored 30 points, but drained a pair of 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds that were well-guarded and they still went in. For Irving, he has scored a league-best 87 points in clutch situations this season, and ranks second in clutch points per game (4.6) to Kevin Durant (4.9).



We are getting closer to that time when conversations will heat up about who the best players/all-stars are in the NBA season. Victor Oladipo, a front-runner for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award, needs to be in that conversation. He torched the league’s top-rated defense for 38 points on an efficient 13-for-23 shooting night.



Don’t be surprised if we start to see the Celtics begin the fourth quarter with a five-man unit of Terry Rozier, Shane Larkin, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Daniel Theis. The unit has logged 13 minutes of playing time together this season. And while the sample size may be small, their impact has been big for the Celtics. Boston seems to get the best of both worlds with that group. Defensively, they have a defensive rating 81.5. And offensively, they have proven to be no slouch there with an offensive rating of 123.7.



It’s a growing trend with the Boston Celtics these days. For the season, they rank 10th in the league in committing 14.4 turnovers per game. But in the last six games, Boston has increased its turnover total to 15.0 per game which ranks 21st in that span. Those numbers are both better than what we saw from the Celtics last night as they committed 20 turnovers which led to 27 Pacer points. You can add one more item to the list of areas Boston needs to shore up going forward.


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