MILWAUKEE — Celtics rookie guard Terry Rozier has a personal interest in the University of Louisville, not only because he is a former Cardinal.
He helped recruit fifth-year senior Trey Lewis for his final season.
Louisville decided last week to take itself out of tournament consideration this season, stemming from an NCAA investigation into whether a former assistant paid for escorts for recruits. The Cardinals will not participate in the Atlantic Coast Conference or NCAA Tournament.
Rozier, who has been linked to that list of recruits, said he feels for his former teammates and Lewis, whom he encouraged to transfer from Cleveland State.
“It’s tough not to experience the tournament for anybody, whether you’re a freshman or a senior,” he said. “I’ve known [Lewis] since we were young and to not be able to play in the tournament in his last year in college, it’s tough to witness that.
“It’s devastating, to see it come out of nowhere and I feel bad for [coach] Rick Pitino.”
Rozier remains fiercely loyal to Pitino.
“A lot of fans are yapping about Rick Pitino and a lot of the players but a lot of people just don’t know what it is to be in those situations or live Rick Pitino’s life,” Rozier said. “My prayers go out to him and the whole team and hopefully they can bounce back from it. Nothing lasts forever.”
The Cardinals still have a rugged ACC schedule remaining before their season ends.
“That’s the best thing they can do right now is treat [the regular season] like a tournament game,” Rozier said. “I guess [the school] is doing [the ban] for some reason, to let people know they’re not playing no games. It’s tough to see it but that’s just the rules that they’re applying.”
Blake Griffin was suspended four games without pay on Tuesday for punching a team staff member, and the Los Angeles Clippers will dock the star forward’s pay for an additional game because he broke his shooting hand.
In all, Griffin will lose $859,442 from his season salary of $18,907,725.
A team spokesman said the suspension will begin when Griffin is healthy, cleared to play, and active. He is expected to be out 4-6 weeks while his hand heals from the Jan. 23 altercation in Toronto.
‘‘We have made it clear that this conduct has no place in the Clippers organization,’’ team owner Steve Ballmer and coach Doc Rivers said in a joint statement. ‘‘Blake is remorseful and has apologized for his actions. He is a valued member of our Clippers family and we support him as he rejoins the team.’’
Griffin will miss Wednesday’s game against the Celtics in Boston.
The spokesman said the fine was issued by the Clippers, with the NBA assisting in the investigation of the incident as well as in the disciplinary process. No other league punishment is expected.
Griffin has been away from the team since he punched assistant equipment manager Matias Testi last month. Testi has yet to rejoin the team, although he is expected to.
The Clippers are 18-4 without Griffin, who has been out since Dec. 26 with a partially torn left quadriceps tendon. He was close to returning from that injury when he punched Testi, who sustained multiple facial injuries.
Rookie forward Jordan Mickey was named to the NBADL All-Star Game after a stellar stretch with the Maine Red Claws, but the forward said he will skip the Saturday showcase in Toronto to continue to rehabilitate his high ankle sprain.
Mickey sprained the ankle on Jan. 16 and hasn’t played since. He traveled with the Celtics to Milwaukee to continue working out but said he’s not close enough to play in Saturday’s game.
“I’d rather stay back and try to get healthy,” he said. “I feel as there’s no need for me to go up there and risk not being 100 percent and re-hurting myself. I would rather just stay back, get healthy and try to get back in shape.”
In 21 games for Maine, Mickey, a second-round pick from LSU, averaged 17.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, and a league-leading 4.6 blocked shots at 6 feet 8 inches. He said it will be difficult to skip the All-Star festivities.
“It is real tough, I worked real hard and was able to get that honor,” he said. “I understand the process. I’ve got to take care of my body. I’m a professional now.”
The Celtics have been thrilled with Mickey’s development and he appeared close to making a contribution to the big club before his injury.
“I feel it’s gone extremely well,” he said. “I’m getting a chance to be down there and play, work on my game instead of sitting around, watching other people play. That’s definitely helped me out a lot, getting into a rhythm, just continue to improve.”
Mickey has impressed with his rim protection despite being undersized. The scouting report on Mickey at LSU was that his leaping ability and instincts compensate for his lack of height.
“It’s something I definitely did when I first started playing the game,” he said. “That’s how I keep myself on the floor. I wasn’t the best player on the team, but I could play defense and blocked shots so that’s something that’s stuck with me.”
Shake up pays off
With his team 20-32 entering Tuesday night and 6½ games out of the eighth playoff spot in the East, Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd decided to shake up his starting lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Celtics. He inserted O.J. Mayo as the starting point guard after an 11-game absence because of a strained left hamstring.
The Bucks also replaced top free-agent signee Greg Monroe in the lineup with Miles Plumlee at center. Kidd said the Bucks have to explore different combinations after struggling mightily the first half of the season. Hamilton, Mass., native Michael Carter-Williams also headed to the bench.
Both responded in the Bucks’ 112-111 win. Monroe had 29 points and 12 rebounds in 30 minutes while Carter-Williams had 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists in 26 minutes. Mayo (0 points, six assists) and Plumlee (6 points, five rebounds) both played 18 minutes.
“We’re going to try something different,” Kidd said. “Nothing that Michael or Moose [Monroe] have done.
“We’re at the 53-game mark, look at a different lineup. We’re very fortunate to have four different guys who can handle the ball. We might not have a true point guard but O.J. thrived in this situation last time.
“It has nothing to do with Boston. We’re taking a look at some different things. We’ll find out about some different guys going forward, being able to start, looking at the young guys. Again, our record isn’t where want it to be, so there’s nothing wrong with a little change up before the All-Star Break.”
It was Monroe’s 45th career game as a reserve.
■ When, where: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., at TD Garden.
■ TV, radio: CSN, WBZ-FM (98.5).
■ Scoring: Blake Griffin 23.2, Chris Paul 19.0, J.J. Redick 16.2.
■ Rebounding: DeAndre Jordan 14.0, Griffin 8.7, Cole Aldrich 3.9.
■ Assists: Paul 9.3, Griffin 5.0, Jamal Crawford 2.1.
■ Head to head: This is the first of two meetings.
■ Miscellany: Griffin is out indefinitely with a broken hand and was suspended four games for a fight with the team’s assistant equipment manager Jan. 23 . . . Austin Rivers, son of coach Doc Rivers, broke his hand last Wednesday against the Timberwolves. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks . . . Former Celtic Paul Pierce, with his fourth team in four years, is averaging only 5.7 points per game, the lowest mark of his career.