Eric Bledsoe on Terry Rozier: 'I've Got to Take My Hat off to Him'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2018

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 26:  Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics dribbles the ball while being guarded by Eric Bledsoe #6 of the Milwaukee Bucks in the first quarter during Game Six of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at the Bradley Center on April 26, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Milwaukee Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe, who pretended throughout the team's series that he didn't know Boston Celtics point guard Terry Rozier's name, gave credit to his counterpart after Milwaukee's Game 7 loss on Saturday.

"I mean, it's the playoffs," Bledsoe said, per Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com. "What, you expect us to be out there shaking hands, giving out hugs the whole time? S--t ain't gonna happen. He had a helluva series, man. I've got to take my hat off to him."

The two had quite the back-and-forth in their series. After Game 1, Rozier accidentally referred to Bledsoe as "Drew," a reference to former New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe. The Celtics used that to hype up the crowd in Game 7: 

"Man, that was special," Rozier said of the video. "I don't know who thought of that, but that was nice. For real, I liked that."

Boston fans also chanted "Who is Bledsoe?" throughout Game 7.

Rozier's slip-up perhaps led to Bledsoe pretending he didn't know Rozier's name. The two were chippy throughout the series and had a confrontation in Game 5 after Bledsoe got a flagrant for pushing Rozier. Rozier got a technical for his retaliation.

"You have two guys that want to win, two chippy guys, two short point guards," Rozier said. "If it takes for us to go back and forth, jaw back and forth, battle, push each other, that's part of the game. We talked after the game."

Rozier, 24, got the better of Bledsoe in the series, averaging 17.6 points and 6.7 assists while shooting 38.2 percent from three. He scored 23 or more points for the Celtics in three of the team's four wins in the series, and his performance was huge for a Celtics team without its starting point guard, superstar Kyrie Irving.

Bledsoe, meanwhile, had his struggles, averaging 13.6 points and 3.7 assists while shooting just 31.8 percent from beyond the arc. He exceeded 20 points just once, going for 23 in Game 7.

The Celtics will next face the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

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