Friday, December 27, 2013
Practice: Bradley fine after knee bump
By Chris Forsberg
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley and forward Gerald Wallace were full participants in Friday morning's practice, one day after the two bumped knees and did not complete Thursday's workout.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens had downplayed the collision Thursday, even as Bradley wore an ice wrap around his right knee and received post-practice treatment. Bradley confirmed it was a non-issue after Friday's session.
"Oh, it's fine. I just banged with Gerald. I'm fine though," said Bradley. "I just iced it down and sat down in practice. I could have finished, but everybody was like just sit out."
Bradley's offensive emergence was a popular topic of chatter. The fourth-year guard is averaging a team-best 16.1 points per game on 50.8 percent shooting in the month of December. Bradley is shooting 57.1 percent beyond the 3-point arc and has shown great confidence in his mid-range shot.
Coach Brad Stevens sees even more room for growth from Bradley, particularly in extending his range out past the 3-point line from the top of the key.
"He’s comfortable in his role and clearly understands what he’s supposed to do, where he’s supposed to be, how he can best pick his spots," said Stevens. "I do think he’ll grow and get better and that will be something that will happen now and over time. I think he’ll get incrementally better as we move throughout the season. And I do think expanding and extending that range at the top of the key will be kind of the next step for him, to shoot those shots consistently, whether it’s off the bounce or off the pass. But he’s really picking his spots and shooting the ball exceptionally well."
Bradley downplayed the uptick in his offense, pointing to his defense as the catalyst.
"I've just been fortunate enough to be able to make shots," said Bradley. "And just playing hard on both ends of the floor, I feel like that's what gets my offense going -- playing hard on defense."
A few more notes from the Celtics' offday session at HealthPoint:
- SCHEDULE RAMPS UP: The Celtics endured a crazy November (playing 19 games in 31 days to start the season), but December was kinder, including this five-day holiday break from game action. Will it help the Celtics? "I guess we’ll see [during Saturday's visit from the Cleveland Cavaliers]," said Jeff Green. "I think the break was needed. And I think the November schedule kind of burned us out a little bit. But we can’t do anything about our schedule. We’ve just got to go out there and play. In January, we have another tough month, where we play like 19 games in  days [spanning from the end of December]."
- IT STARTS WITH THE CAVS: The last visit from the Cavaliers produced the only Gino Time moment of the season for the Celtics. Stevens downplayed the lopsided nature of that game. "It probably wasn’t as much of a margin as it ended up being. We banked a couple of 3s in and [Kyrie] Irving and [Dion] Waiters really got to the rim on us," said Stevens. "And they get to the rim on everybody. I watched [Cleveland's double overtime] game [Thursday night] live, it was as entertaining a basketball game as I’ve seen in a long time. Irving put on a show and that’s probably putting it mildly."
- IRVING IN FOCUS: The Celtics held Irving to a quiet 17 points in the first meeting, but he's coming off a 40-point outburst in Thursday's loss to the Hawks, the second time in four games he's gone for 39+. Asked about containing Irving, Jordan Crawford noted, "It takes a team-effort. He’s very aggressive. He’s looking for his and then, once you key in on him, he can find others. We want to step up to the challenge. He’s a great player, so you want to see where you’re at."
- LOOSE BALLS: Rajon Rondo engaged in agility and conditioning drills with strength coach Bryan Doo after practice. Rondo worked on cutting and sprinting in cone drills, then did leaping drills while rehabbing his right knee. ... Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn spent some time on the court after practice with rookie Kelly Olynyk, keeping a close eye as the first-year big man worked on post moves, including a little hook shot.