Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Bradley also a pest on offensive end
By Greg Payne
AP Photo/Charles KrupaAvery Bradley contributed at both ends of the floor on Monday night against Charlotte.
BOSTON -- The Celtics are still reaping the benefits of the Avery Bradley Effect as they pushed their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 100-89 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night and moved to 6-1 overall since Bradley returned from offseason shoulder surgery on Jan. 2.
While much of Bradley's impact has manifested itself on the defensive end, he put forth a steady reminder on Monday that he can be a viable option in Boston's offense as well. Bradley produced a season-high 16 points against Charlotte, knocking down six of his 10 shots and finishing 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point nation.
Bradley's defensive assignments were clear, with Charlotte boasting a solid stable of guards, including Kemba Walker, Ben Gordon and Ramon Sessions. But amid applying his typical relentless ball pressure, Bradley took advantage of his openings on the other end of the floor, kicking things off with a strong baseline drive less than 20 seconds into the game.
From there Bradley extended his range, sticking to his customary spots in the corners -- the sources of all four of his 3-pointers.
"It's a shot that we end up getting a lot," Bradley said prior to Monday's game, not knowing he would have his finest performance of the season from those spots. "Me, Jeff Green, Courtney [Lee], we end up getting that shot a lot, so it's a real important shot for us to knock down, because it's usually wide open."
Bradley knocked down two of his four 3-pointers in the second frame as Boston upped its lead as high as 18 at one point and provided a crucial 3-point make in the third quarter to help fend off a charge from the Bobcats. With Boston's lead down to four nearly halfway through that third frame, Bradley took a pass from Rondo and buried his final make from distance, giving Boston a seven-point edge and a bit more breathing room.
"[Bradley's] big for us on both ends of the floor," Rondo said. "So we know what we have as a player in Avery."
If nothing else, Monday might be the latest sign that Bradley's making significant progress with his shot and his timing. He finished last season shooting 40.7 percent from deep, and while he's been struggling with his rhythm since he returned -- he had only made four 3-pointers on the season before Monday's win -- he seemed to take a step in the right direction against the Bobcats.
“[Bradley] missed a lot of games," coach Doc Rivers said. "And when you miss games, you can play defense when you come back. Everything else is timing -- and he’s starting to get his timing. He’s getting point-blank looks. They still, in the league, don’t think he can shoot because the shots he’s getting are unbelievable. They’re wide open and it’s every night. And we want him to just keep shooting it. And now they’re going in.”