Sunday, February 2, 2014
Pregame: Rondo/Bradley not Bird/McHale
By Chris Forsberg
BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics will have their rarely seen starting backcourt in place again Sunday as both Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo will be in the lineup against the visiting Orlando Magic.
Bradley has missed the last five games due to a sprained right ankle, while Rondo sat out Wednesday's loss to the Philadelphia 76ers as a precaution on the second night of a back-to-back while navigating the early stages of his return from ACL surgery.
Given their limited time together -- just 14 games for a total of 293 minutes since the start of the 2012-13 season -- coach Brad Stevens isn't expecting miracles from the backcourt.
"They really haven’t gotten much time together in the last two years. I think it’ll be nice, but I’m not expecting them to play like [Larry] Bird and [Kevin] McHale just yet, either," Stevens said. "It’s something that takes a little bit of time to get the feel of how they play best together, but I do think they can be a heck of a combination. And I do think they really like playing together, so I think it’s really good for them to now get a chance to do it."
Rondo and Bradley logged 451 regular-season minutes together at the end of the 2011-12 season. Did Stevens go back and watch tape of that season to get an idea of how the pair can thrive together?
"I watched it this summer quite a bit," Stevens said. "What it does is, offensively, I think we all know what they do, right? Rondo’s a distributor, a passer, a playmaker. And Avery is more comfortable at the 2. That fits easily and well. I think defensively they add some flexibility in that Rondo can guard off the ball or point, Avery same. If [Victor] Oladipo is giving us problems, maybe you end up switching. If [Arron] Afflalo is giving you problems, maybe you end up switching. Just go and play it by ear that way."
A few more quick hits from pregame access:
- WALLACE BACK WITH C'S: Gerald Wallace, who left the team to return to his native Alabama after a death in his family last week, returned Sunday morning and will be available. Stevens had said before he'd make sure that Wallace was emotionally OK before throwing him back into game action.
- VITOR'S HERE TOO: Vitor Faverani, who spent a couple of days with the Maine Red Claws of the D-League, was formally recalled to the parent club in time for Sunday's game. Faverani posted 16 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks on Friday against Delaware, then put up 20 points, 17 rebounds and 6 assists against Erie on Saturday night. Said Stevens: "I thought he did some good things Friday; he played well [Saturday]. The thing that you want out of that is, No. 1, to get more game experience. And, No. 2, is to get up and down the court from a physical standpoint and make sure you’re staying sharp from a playing standpoint. It’s great for him to get those extra minutes. Like we said before, we’ll probably utilize [D-League assignments] more throughout the next couple of months."
- PRANKING BRADLEY: Tacoma native Avery Bradley proudly displayed a Seattle Seahawks hat in his locker with his favorite NFL team set to play in the Super Bowl this evening. A frisky teammate took some masking tape and wrote "BRONCOS" in place on the front of the lid.