The end of the Bucks-Celtics series also spelled the end to one of the more amusing and unexpected “feuds” in these playoffs.
Eric Bledsoe and Terry Rozier barely knew each other before the series began yet suddenly found themselves as the sideshow. Rozier was elevated to the starting lineup after the Celtics lost Kyrie Irving (and also Marcus Smart) while Bledsoe arrived in Milwaukee after a midseason trade from Phoenix.
Just as unexpected as the feud was a peaceful embrace between the two after Game 7.
Bledsoe and Rozier with the respect following Game 7 👏 pic.twitter.com/cZ8wjcrCfm— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 29, 2018
Matt Valezquez of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel was there to witness it all. He explains the makings of the series-long confrontation:
“It’s the playoffs," Bledsoe said. "What’d you expect, us to be out there shaking hands, giving out hugs the whole time? S--- ain’t gonna happen. He had a hell of a series. Got to take my hat off to him.”
Rozier struck first, hitting a clutch step-back three-pointer after shaking Bledsoe late in the fourth quarter of Game 1. It looked like it would be the game-winning basket until Milwaukee's Khris Middleton hit a 35-footer after receiving the inbound with half a second on the clock.
After the game, a Celtics win in overtime, Rozier inadvertently referred to Bledsoe by the first name, "Drew." Drew Bledsoe is a former NFL quarterback, most notably for the New England Patriots.
Following a second stellar game by Rozier in Game 2 — Rozier had zero turnovers to his name through 78 minutes to start the series — Bledsoe was asked about Rozier and if he took that matchup personally.
"Who?" Bledsoe responded. “I don’t even know who the (expletive) that is.”
From that point on, the battle between those guards — on the court and off — became a storyline for the series as the Bucks battled back to ultimately even the series at three games apiece.
“Out there having fun,” Rozier said. “You have two guys that want to win, two chippy guys, two short point guards. If it takes for us to go back and forth, jaw back and forth, battle, push each other, that’s part of the game."
During Game 7, the Boston crowd responded to a Bledsoe technical foul in the second quarter with chants of "Who is Bledsoe?" In the fourth quarter, the Celtics had some fun with a video featuring the former Patriots quarterback who introduced himself as "the real Drew Bledsoe."
“Man that was special,” said Rozier, who had 26 points in Game 7. “I don’t know who thought of that, but that was nice. For real, I liked that.”
Eric Bledsoe said he didn’t know who Terry Rozier was so Celtics fans troll with, "Who is Bledsoe?" chant 👀 pic.twitter.com/qL1Xjh80Rd— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 29, 2018
* * *