After the Boston Celtics bowed out of the playoffs Wednesday night, it was pretty clear who Terry Rozier called out.
Roughly a year ago at this time, despite being without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Boston Celtics were preparing for the Eastern Conference Finals. But a 116-91 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks has them going home early this season, and guard Terry Rozier was not shy about venting his frustrations.
Rozier was one of the stars of Boston’s 2018 playoff run, averaging 16.5 points, 5.7 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game while starting all 19 games and averaging over 36.5 minutes per game. But with Irving, in particular, coming back healthy this season, Rozier was atop the list of those who would be sacrificing to accommodate a star.
Even compared to the 2017-18 regular season, when he started just 16 games as Irving’s backup, Rozier’s minutes, shot attempts and virtually all of his other numbers fell off this season. Heading into restricted free agency this summer, that drop-off is obviously not ideal.
Via Vince Goodwill of Yahoo! Sports, Rozier cited his own sacrifice and the challenge coach Brad Stevens had putting things together this season.
I feel like I sacrificed the most, but I’d do it any day for this team,” Rozier told Yahoo Sports. “A lot of things weren’t fair to me, but it’s not about me. That’s why I don’t bitch and complain.”
“Coach was in a tough position, one of the toughest positions, dealing with all these guys with attitudes, all that sh–. Guys that’s All-Stars, guys getting paid a lot of money, guys trying to get paid. It’s tough.
Rozier surely has an eye on his own future, with the Celtics able to match any offer he gets elsewhere. He stopped just short of naming names in regard to how he had to take on a background role, and the “attitudes” Stevens had to manage.
But the clear target is Irving, who would not stop shooting (30.1 percent from the floor; 25-for-83) as Boston lost four straight games to the Bucks in dismal fashion. In Game 5, somehow, Irving tallied just one assist in 33 minutes.
Irving has one foot out the door in Boston, as he inevitably opts out of the final year of his contract, while Rozier will be back if he is wanted. So the situation will naturally take care of itself. But Rozier has confirmed an internal vibe that the Celtics’ underachievement this year rests where everyone else pretty much knew it was–at Irving’s feet.