Grant the Celtics this: that game could have finished A LOT worse. There were plenty of instances where it felt like the Cavs were running away with a win, so to only lose by 9 is a step back in the right direction.
That being said, this loss CLEARLY proves Terry Rozier cannot replace Kyrie Irving.
Forget the score sheet. I know who scored what.
The Celtics were horrendous in the first half. They couldn’t get control of the tempo or get good enough looks at the hoop consistently.
The game was out of hand.
That does not happen if you have a player with isolation capabilities like Kyrie.
Forget the fact that he’s dealt with playing on the road in the playoffs, because Rozier and these young guys are getting that experience now.
What I’m talking about is the fact that Kyrie doesn’t need a change in tempo or his teammates to get him open. He can take guys one-on-one to the hoop or create space to get a quality shot off — and actually make the shot.
That’s how you gain momentum when you lose control of the tempo. Or even, that’s how you stay in the game when everyone on your team else is struggling, but the opposition can’t miss.
Rozier is a good player, no doubt, but he just can’t do that. Could he eventually? Maybe, he’s grown so much this year alone that I guess that could happen in theory.
I personally don’t think so. He gets off some good shots on his own, but it’s still within the flow of the offense to some extent. Kyrie can bring the ball up the floor, slow it down, essentially tell everyone he’s taking his man on and still get off a quality look.
In fairness to Rozier, I don’t expect Gordon Hayward to do the when he comes back. Quite frankly, I expect Jayson Tatum to be the only other guy on the Celtics who could do that down the road. And that’s not even saying we’ll see that from him next year.