Celtics guard Avery Bradley is keeping a diary for ESPNBoston.com. In his second installment, he talks about the importance of leading after the first quarter, what kept him up late into the night because he had to watch it and some Christmas shopping recommendations. (--As told to Louise K. Cornetta)
We find ourselves in first place in the Atlantic Division. How did we get there? By working hard and continuing to get better as individuals and as a team. That's our biggest thing is to continue to get better. I think it's very unfortunate that some people thought we wouldn't be a very good team. Everybody here thrives off proving people wrong.
I feel like we've been playing well. We obviously took a few steps back when we lost two games last week, but we responded well against the Knicks on Friday night when we got a great win. I had to spend a little time in the trainer's room after that one as I got hit in the thigh, but I'll be fine. It's nothing serious.
Coach Brad Stevens is really big on stats. He likes us to be leading after the first quarter. I'm sure he's been looking it up where statistically when we're up in the first quarter, we probably win the game, which was the case against the Knicks. Stats don't lie. Leading after the first quarter is obviously very important for us.
One of my teammates I wanted to point out is Jared Sullinger. He's been playing really well. He's very confident, and we've been able to get him the ball, which has kept up his confidence. As a result, he's been playing excellent.
The game in New York I was close to a triple-double but ended up with a double-double, which I'll take. I've been very blessed and fortunate to be able to make some shots. All I can really do is thank God. On Friday, I was able to hit a 3 to put us ahead at the end of the game. When you hit a big shot like that, it's fun for me because I put so much work into my game. So to be able to make a shot like that for my teammates is just an amazing feeling. It's why I play this game.
I made the Top 10 Plays on "SportsCenter" last week when we played Milwaukee. Funny story about that as I didn't know I had made Top 10. One of my teammates, Jeff Green, texted me late at night, like at 2 in the morning, saying, "Bro, you're No. 1." I stayed up to watch it, and I was cracking up that I was the No. 1 play of the night. It was pretty cool.
Eventful week as it felt like a sort of homecoming since we faced the Nets with Paul Pierce, KG (Kevin Garnett) and Jet (Jason Terry) in Brooklyn then with the Clippers having Doc Rivers come back. With the Nets, my former teammates are like older brothers to me. It was fun to be on the other side to play against them. Not only to go up against them but going up against Doc as well. It was weird but fun at the same time. I was able to speak to everyone before or after the game. Everyone knows KG is an infamous trash-talker on the court, but he didn't say anything -- well, at least not to me.
I was glad the fans showed Doc a lot of love with that ovation. He deserved that. He had a great career here. He's a really good guy and coach. He's highly respected here in Boston. I felt the fans responded the right way, the appropriate way.
Last diary I gave you a movie rental recommendation. This time I'll do a holiday version of something to recommend. We have a nice stretch around Christmas without games. I'll spend the holidays with my family. This will be the first Christmas for my son, Avery. My girlfriend and I had a hard time trying to decide what to get him because he's so young, only a few months old. He already has everything that he would want. We did go to Toys R Us on Thursday for like two hours to find some things to get him. I'd recommend going to a store to see what's out there, but you can sometimes get bogged down when you try to go to a store. So whether you are an online shopper or an in-store one, do what works for you.
I'll tell you a little secret. I've never been a big fan of Christmas. My girlfriend is trying to get me into the spirit. I just have never been a big Christmas guy. I really don't know why. Not even as a kid, I didn't get into it. Really weird, right?
But I like to get stuff done early, so I do recommend shopping early. Don't wait until Christmas Eve or something. I do not like to do things last minute. So I got all my Christmas shopping done already. Actually, another recommendation is about what to buy your significant other for Christmas. Ask your friends for helpful suggestions; that's what I did. Jeff and Courtney Lee helped me pick out my gift for my girlfriend, and I feel like it's a very good gift. It was expensive. So get advice from your friends or her friends and you can't go wrong.