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Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Postgame notes: Bradley makes NBA debut

By Chris Forsberg

PHILADELPHIA -- A collection of news and notes after the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Boston Celtics 103-92 in preseason play Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center:

The rundown (a quick look at postgame headlines)
* After long wait, rookie guard Bradley makes NBA debut
* Loose Balls: Lasme draws high praise; role reversal for reserves


Rookie Avery Bradley walked into the Celtics' locker room after an intense pregame warm-up and glanced up at the countdown clock trying to figure out exactly how much time he had left before the team's pregame huddle. He turned away looking frustrated that his NBA debut wouldn't come for one more hour.

You can understand the 19-year-old being antsy. It had been 210 days (or 18,057,600 seconds, but who's counting?) since he last played in a meaningful game (Texas' 81-80 loss to Wake Forest in the NCAA tournament on March 18).

And after spending the past three-plus months sidelined because of offseason ankle surgery, he was champing at the bit to show the coaching staff what they landed with the 19th overall pick in June's draft. Bradley finally participated in contact drills during Saturday's practice, but still wasn't able to play in Sunday's exhibition game against the Raptors.

Finally, he got the thumbs-up Tuesday and chipped in two points, three rebounds and an assist in nearly 12 minutes of action.

"It just felt good to be out there again," Bradley said after icing an ankle that tightened up on him from inactivity in the second half. He's optimistic it will be OK on Wednesday, but the Celtics have exercised extreme caution in regard to player health.

"I haven't been on the court playing in a game in a long time, since my last game at Texas. It felt real good being out there."

Bradley checked in for his first game action with 1:38 to play in the first quarter. He grabbed a defensive rebound just before the quarter expired, but got more involved in the second period. After missing a couple of jumpers, he hit a mid-range attempt with 8:57 to play in the half for his first NBA bucket.

It was the only shot he hit on six attempts, but Bradley proved, true to his predraft reputation, to be most impressive on the defensive side of the ball.

"Avery played great in the first half, you can see what he can do with ball pressure. It's amazing," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "But in the second half, I thought he got tired, No. 1. And I thought his ankle stiffened up, that's why we had to put Nate [Robinson] in. We didn't want to take [Bradley] out, but he couldn't have survived.

"I was happy. He's going to be a really good player."

Said Bradley: "One thing I really take pride in is playing defense. That's because I may not have the offense down yet, but I feel like you can never have a bad offensive game if you're out there and giving all you've got [defensively]."

Bradley always appears cool and collected, if not a bit shy, but admitted teammates told him to calm down as his juices were flowing early on. Bradley is eager to build off this effort, but is also taking a wait-and-see approach with the ankle, especially with three games in the next four days.

"Especially when I stop moving, it tightens up on me," said Bradley. "I iced it after the game and we'll see how it feels [Wednesday]."