BOSTON -- Despite the fact his team has lost the first two games to the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe stoked the intensity for the rest of the series when asked if he took the matchup with Celtics guard Terry Rozier personally.
"Who?" Bledsoe replied, following Tuesday's 120-106 Game 2 loss to Boston.
"Terry Rozier," a reporter responded.
"I don't even know who the f--- that is," Bledsoe said.
For the second game in a row, Rozier torched the Bucks to the tune of 23 points, adding 8 assists and 3 rebounds Tuesday. Rozier, who scored 23 points in a Game 1 win and shook off Bledsoe near the end of regulation to give the Celtics a three-point lead, has not turned the ball over once in 78 minutes of postseason play this year. When told of Bledsoe's comments by ESPN's Jeff Goodman, Rozier wanted no part of a back-and-forth between point guards.
"I'm not feeding into that," Rozier told ESPN.
While it remains unclear exactly what Bledsoe's motives may have been in not giving Rozier any postgame respect, speculation abounds in Boston that Rozier's commentary after Game 1, in which he called Bledsoe, "Drew," as in the former New England Patriots quarterback, may have upset the Bucks point guard.
"They're very tall and athletic, so just move the ball offensively and get great shots," Rozier said after Game 1. "Defensively, just play long, show your arms. Giannis [Antetokounmpo], he loves to push the ball. Drew Bledsoe makes tough shots and we just try to limit them to what they're good at by just being long off the ball and showing our presence and I felt like we did a great job with that the majority of the game."
Celtics coach Brad Stevens was asked Wednesday about Bledsoe's comment, and said, "I mean, I heard that. Our team is just focused on Game 3." A reporter playfully asked if Stevens didn't want to bite on the question and Stevens responded with silence until the next question came.
If Bledsoe really doesn't know who Rozier is he may want to figure it out going into Game 3 on Friday night in Milwaukee. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Rozier is 7-of 12 in this series when guarded by Bledsoe. Bledsoe is 4-of-13 when guarded by Rozier.
Compounding Bledsoe's frustration is the fact that the Bucks were out-hustled throughout the game. Bucks players and coaches noted that they were out-worked, with Bledsoe acknowledging that he could see the slippage occurring as early as the first quarter.
"Boston, from the jump, I felt they played harder," Bucks interim head coach Joe Prunty said. "Again, first-quarter differential, similar to the other night. Seven turnovers to start that quarter which is similar to the other night (eight in Sunday's Game 1 loss). Loose balls, little things, even on offensive rebounds early in the game as well, the little things were problems and a lot of that added up throughout the entire game. So regroup and we'll head back home."
Antetokounmpo, who had 30 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists, echoed those sentiments.
"We got to play better," he said. "We got to play with more effort. I think as a team we didn't show up tonight. Hopefully we can go back home and protect our home and play better and get those two wins."
Bledsoe, who was acquired early in the season from the Phoenix Suns, was expected to take some pressure of Antetokounmpo and veteran Khris Middleton offensively. He is now 9-for-25 in the series and has six turnovers.
"We just got to keep fighting, playing as a team." Bledsoe said. "Khris and Giannis are carrying the load right now. We just got to have players step up."
ESPN's Ian Begley contributed to this report.