Boston Celtics: Avery Bradley

Humphries (knee) set for MRI

April, 8, 2014
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Boston Celtics forward/center Kris Humphries will undergo an MRI on an ailing right knee on Wednesday and will not accompany the team on its trip to play the Atlanta Hawks.

Humphries sat out Saturday's loss in Detroit with what the team termed a strained right patella tendon. He's battled knee issues at times this season and the current issue has lingered. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said it was too early to know if the injury will force the team to shut down Humphries for the remainder of the season.

"If he’s able to play, he’s going to play," said Stevens. "That’s just kinda the way we’ve approached it all year. We want to be cautious if he’s got an issue and clearly he’s not feeling good right now. Hopefully the MRI reveals that it’s nothing and he can play at least a couple more games throughout the rest of the season."

The Celtics have five games remaining including Wednesday's tilt with the Hawks.

Stevens is expecting to have starters Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger available on Wednesday. Bradley has missed the last three games due to a strained right Achilles, while Sullinger bruised his left thigh on Saturday in Detroit.

Bradley practiced the past two days, while Sullinger took Monday off and returned to practice on Tuesday. Stevens said both "should be in good shape to go."

Sullinger said he got kneed trying to defend a Greg Monroe layup attempt in the second half of Saturday's loss, but consecutive days off left him feeling better before Tuesday's practice.

"[The thigh was] tight, real sore, so I took a couple days off," said Sullinger. " I’m doing better. ... Just trying to get ready for [Wednesday's] game."

Asked if he gave any thought to taking additional time off, Sullinger said: "No, one, it’s my second year, and, two, I want to finish the season out strong. There’s never been a quitter inside me. I want to finish this season out."

Bradley out at least two more games

April, 4, 2014
Apr 4
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BOSTON -- Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley will miss at least two more games after being diagnosed with a strained right Achilles' tendon.

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The injury flared late in the first half of Monday's loss in Chicago, forcing him to sit out the remainder of that game and Wednesday's loss in Washington. Bradley was re-evaluated by team doctors on Thursday and was advised to sit out at least two more games. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will be day-to-day starting Monday and the team is hopeful he could return to game action on Wednesday in Atlanta.

Bradley missed 19 games earlier this season while dealing with a right ankle sprain. He said after Wednesday's loss that this is a separate injury, but suggested it's likely an offshoot of the ankle ailment.

"It doesn't have anything to do with my ankle anymore," said Bradley. "It just comes from not playing for a while and now playing at full speed. My ankle's not loose and it ends up giving me tendinitis [in the Achilles]."

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley is frustrated by another setback that will keep him off the court. But Stevens stressed he believes Bradley will return this season and that any decision to shut down Bradley for the season lies with the medical staff.

"I think that if he could play, he’d be playing," said Stevens. "If they gave him the OK, he’d be playing. I’m hopeful that he’s going to play as much as possible over the [final] seven games [of the 2013-14 season]."

Bradley is averaging a career-best 14.2 points over 30.4 minutes per game in 55 appearances this season. Bradley is set to be a restricted free agent this summer.

Pregame: Bradley out vs. Wizards

April, 2, 2014
Apr 2
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Boston Celtics shooting guard Avery Bradley will sit out Wednesday's game against the Washington Wizards due to a strained right Achilles' tendon.

Bradley, who missed 19 games recently due to right ankle woes, sat out the second half of Monday's loss to the Chicago Bulls due to stiffness in his Achilles. He had been pegged a game-time decision on Wednesday night, but was held out as the team errs on the side of caution. Jerryd Bayless starts in his place.

"You’re always appropriately cautious," coach Brad Stevens told reporters in Washington at Wednesday's shootaround. “So you always want to make sure health, especially long-term health, is never sacrificed in any which way."

Bradley is averaging a career-best 14.2 points over 30.4 minutes per game in 55 appearances this season. Bradley is set to be a restricted free agent this summer.

Bradley stressed to reporters in Washington that his current ailment is merely an offshoot of his ankle injury. Said Bradley: "It doesn't have anything to do with my ankle anymore. It just comes from not playing for a while and now playing at full speed. My ankle's not loose and it ends up giving me tendinitis [in the Achilles]."

Bradley is expected to be reexamined by team doctors on Thursday.

Bradley (ankle) departs vs. Bulls

March, 31, 2014
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Boston Celtics shooting guard Avery Bradley, who recently missed 19 games due to right ankle ailments, did not play in the second half of Monday's game against the Chicago Bulls because of soreness in the ankle.

Bradley missed all five shots he took over 13 minutes, 44 seconds of floor time in the first half of Monday's game. He had an abbreviated stint late in the second quarter before being lifted with 1:22 to play in the half. Bradley finished with one point, three assists and two rebounds.

"It's just tendinitis in the Achilles," Bradley told reporters after Monday's loss in Chicago. "It just comes from not playing for a long period and then coming back full speed. It's been bothering me, but I've been playing through it, just getting treatment. But [Monday] it got the best of me."

Said coach Brad Stevens: "I took him out and he was limping because he looked like he landed funny or did something. But it didn’t sound like it was a long-term thing when [team trainer] Ed [Lacerte] told me he’s not playing. Kinda like it was his Achilles was very sore, he couldn’t get it loose -- that’s as far as I got. When they said he can’t play -- OK, you gotta find the other guys that can."

Chris Johnson took Bradley's place in the lineup to open the second half.

Bradley sprained his right ankle in late January and missed 19 of the team's next 22 games before returning on March 14. In eight appearances this month, Bradley had averaged 14.8 points per game while shooting 45 percent from the floor entering Monday's tilt.

The Celtics will wait to see how Bradley's ankle responds with a day off scheduled for Tuesday. Bradley said he's hopeful he can play on Wednesday when the Celtics visit the Washington Wizards, but will listen to the medical staff.

Need to see more of Rondo/Bradley

March, 21, 2014
Mar 21
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Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley shared the floor for 31 minutes during Wednesday's win over the Miami Heat. That constitutes nearly 20 percent of their total floor time together this season (159 minutes through nine games) and 7.6 percent of time they've been paired since the start of the 2012-13 season (409 minutes in 20 games).

[+] EnlargeAvery Bradley, Rajon Rondo
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty ImagesWith a healthy Avery Bradley teamed up with Rajon Rondo, the Celtics enjoyed a rare sighting of their top backcourt duo.
As the Celtics play out the string in this transition season, few areas are as of much interest as how Rondo and Bradley perform together and whether they can truly be Boston's backcourt of the future.

It's hard to believe, but our biggest sample size to judge off is the 451 regular-season minutes the duo logged together at the end of the 2011-12 regular season after Bradley supplanted Ray Allen in Boston's starting lineup. The pair proved to be a dominating defensive combination, but can they rekindle that magic without having the likes of Kevin Garnett behind them?

Talking through some thoughts and questions while pondering the Rondo/Bradley combo:

Will Bradley and Rondo even be around in future seasons?

Bradley is set to become a restricted free agent this summer, while Rondo will enter the final year of his contract next season. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Thursday that he envisions Bradley in Boston's future, suggesting the team will match any reasonable offer to keep him around, while team brass has maintained that Rondo is a player the team plans to build with.

One person who would enjoy seeing a long-term future of the combo is Bradley himself.

"I would love it," Bradley said. "I would love to play for Boston, I would love to play with Rondo, so I wouldn't mind it at all. I'm pretty sure any guard in the NBA would love to play with Rondo."

Bradley makes Rondo better

Rondo's entire advanced stat line improves this season when he's paired with Bradley.

Most notably, Boston's defensive rating dips more than eight points when Rondo and Bradley are on the court together (diving from 109.7 to 101.5) compared with Rondo alone, while rebound rates spike and turnover rates plummet.

Rondo is in the positive for plus/minus when on the floor with Bradley (albeit, barely, at plus-1) compared with minus-96 in his 555 minutes of floor time without him.

Maybe more than anything else, Bradley's defensive presence takes pressure of Rondo and allows him to be more of a pest with freedom to freelance a bit on the perimeter. Rondo can take more chances with Bradley, and that plays to his strengths.

Said Bradley: "I think we can be very good because we both want to play defense, we both are going to go out there and play hard for out teammates, and we just work very well off each other; I love playing with him."

(Read full story)

Ainge sees Bradley in C's future

March, 20, 2014
Mar 20
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Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Thursday that the team has "every intention" of retaining Avery Bradley this offseason.

Bradley is set to be a restricted free agent and could attract outside interest, but Ainge said he believed Bradley would be back next season.

"I think Avery is a terrific player and I think he’s going to be with us," Ainge said during his weekly appearance on Boston sports radio 98.5 The Sports Hub. "Very hopeful. We have the ability to match [outside offers] as a restricted free agent and we have every intention of having Avery with us in the future."

Bradley and the Celtics failed to work out an extension of his rookie pact before a late October deadline earlier this season. Boston plans to extend a $3.6 million qualifying offer to Bradley, but rival teams could drive up his price tag by submitting offer sheets.

In declaring the team's desire to bring back Bradley, Ainge could also be trying to discourage potential bidders from even getting involved. The Celtics would benefit from retaining Bradley at a low price point like the qualifying offer, but will also have motivation to work out a long-term extension, particularly as Bradley's offensive game blossoms.

The 23-year-old Bradley is averaging career bests at 14.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in 30.6 minutes per game. He missed extended time recently with an ankle injury, but it hasn't taken him long to shake any rust from missing much of February. Bradley hit a career-high six 3-pointers while scoring a team-high 23 points during Wednesday's 101-96 triumph over the Miami Heat.

Bradley, the 19th overall pick in the 2010 draft, was an NBA All-Defense second-teamer last season. The Celtics like the combination of Bradley and Rajon Rondo in their backcourt, but both have uncertain futures (Rondo is a free agent in the summer of 2015) and injuries have limited their time together.

Avery Bradley back in Celts' lineup

March, 14, 2014
Mar 14
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Boston Celtics shooting guard Avery Bradley will return to game action on Friday night against the Phoenix Suns, according to the team.

Bradley has missed 19 of the team's last 22 games due to a right ankle sprain originally suffered in late January. Bradley sat out five games, but aggravated the injury returning too soon. He has not play since Feb. 9, sitting out Boston's last 13 games.

Bradley participated in the team's morning shootaround and coach Brad Stevens reaffirmed that Bradley would play during his weekly appearance on Boston sports radio 98.5 the Sports Hub.

The 23-year-old Bradley has put together a quality season, averaging career bests at 14.3 points and 3.9 rebounds over 30.6 minutes per game. He's in line to become a restricted free agent after the season.

Hop HERE for ore on Bradley's return.

Bradley diary: Injury outlook, C's goals

March, 10, 2014
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TerryCeltics guard Avery Bradley has been keeping a diary for ESPNBoston this season. In this edition he talks about which teammate might surprise you, describes what the Celtics are really like off the court, reveals how the team felt about no trades at the deadline and when he expects to return from his ankle injury, and recalls his funny experience with comedian Chris Rock. (--As told to Louise K . Cornetta)

I'm not playing right now because of a sprained right ankle. It's the same thing I did earlier in the season in that I just rolled it. We've been nursing my ankle so that I don't come back and re-roll it and have to start from the ground floor again. We've just been taking our time. The team has been having me sit and wait for it to get 100 percent. Friday I was out taking some warm-ups and I did the same Sunday before the Pistons game. I felt like that was progress. I hadn't touched a basketball since the injury until this past Friday. It felt like it had been forever.

The way I've been spending my days lately is I wake up and go to rehab every morning then I watch practice and after that I get on a treadmill. After that, I leave and go home for a few hours then go back to rehab. That is pretty much what I do every single day. I think for basketball players the most important muscles to keep up are the legs. While the core is important, I really feel every part of your body is important to work on. You should take care of everything. That's why players lift throughout the season to maintain that strength. You can't just focus on one part. You have to focus on everything.

Away from the court, I'm not much of a TV guy. I'll go to the movies every now and then with my fiancée. Really when I'm home, I like to relax. Being a dad now, I found my routine has changed a lot but I have it down now. We use teamwork between me, my fiancée, and her mom. We help each other out as best we can.

On game day when I'm playing, I'm not a superstitious person or anything. I don't really have a certain pregame routine. I switch things up every now and then. I'm easy on game day. I'm not someone who has to have the same meal before every game either. I change it up. Some games I may eat at home and others I eat at the arena. It just depends on how I feel.

I'm not the only Celtics player who is hurt, unfortunately. Both Vitor Faverani and Gerald Wallace had season-ending injuries. I want to mention something about Gerald. You may look at him and not realize what an awesome guy he really is. Like people say how you can never judge a book by its cover, that applies to him. Gerald is one of the nicest people I've ever met. It's the same as with Kendrick Perkins. They look all mean and stuff but they're really nice guys and that's the kind of guy Gerald is. He's not only a great teammate but he's a great leader on and off the floor. I really respect him a lot.

(Read full post)

Bradley sees lights at end of tunnel

March, 8, 2014
Mar 8
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WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley forgot how much he missed the lights.

AP Photo/Greg Wahl-StephensAvery Bradley is eager to get back on the floor for Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
Having spent much of February in the cramped trainer’s room inside the team’s locker room, Bradley basked in the warmth of the TD Garden lights when he stepped onto the court to get up shots before Friday’s visit from the Brooklyn Nets.

After missing 16 of the team’s last 19 games due to a lingering right ankle sprain, Bradley resumed basketball activities this week and is eyeing a return to game action on Friday night against the Phoenix Suns.

Given how the ankle injury has lingered -- Bradley returned after an initial five-game absence, only to sit out the past 10 straight when the ankle balked -- some have wondered if the team would consider shutting Bradley down for the season. With the team enduring a rebuilding year, that thought process wonders if it’s worth jeopardizing his long-term health with little to play for beyond pride.

But both the Celtics and Bradley believe there is plenty to play for, including a chance to uncloud his future.

When healthy, the 23-year-old Bradley has put together a quality season, averaging career bests at 14.3 points and 3.9 rebounds over 30.6 minutes per game. He's shown increased confidence shooting the ball and thrived in the midrange, while also putting a heavier emphasis on crashing the glass from the guard position. His defensive talents are well-documented (even if they haven't been on display quite as much this season).

Had Bradley stayed healthy this year, he likely would have put himself in position for a healthy pay raise this offseason. After failing to hammer out an extension of his rookie pact in late October, the Celtics are expected to extend a $3.6 million qualifying offer this summer that will make Bradley a restricted free agent. As a young, defensive-minded guard with a blossoming offensive game, Bradley could draw outside interest and run up his price tag.

But you wonder if the recent absence could leave teams a bit leery. Which is why these final 17 games could be important for Bradley. While he stressed Saturday that he thinks he’s “already proved [his value] throughout this year,” finishing the season strong certainly wouldn’t hurt his cause.

And the Celtics certainly wouldn’t mind getting a longer look at the backcourt of Bradley and (a healthier) Rajon Rondo. The pair, potentially the team’s backcourt of the future, has rarely been on the court together in recent seasons due to injuries.

For his part, Bradley just wants to get on the court.

“I’m just going to go out there and play hard,” said Bradley. “It's the game I love to play, and I feel like, even if we didn’t have a chance to make the playoffs, we should still go out there and prove to our fans and to ourselves that we're going to fight no matter what, even if we don’t have a chance.”

(Read full post)

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics shooting guard Avery Bradley is eyeing a potential return to game action on Friday against the Phoenix Suns.

Bradley underwent an MRI earlier this week as part of a reevaluation and that cleared him to resume some basketball activities. He got up shots before the Celtics' off-day walkthrough at the team's training facility on Saturday and said the right ankle that has sidelined him for 16 of the past 19 games feels much better.

"I'm progressing and my ankle's a lot better than it was," Bradley said. "It feels better and it looks better."

Bradley guessed that he's about a week away from a return to game action, a timeline that was echoed by coach Brad Stevens.

"[Team trainer] Ed [Lacerte] just told me Friday is a possibility, but we’ll see," Stevens said. "I don’t want to say with any certainty on Friday or not. It doesn’t look like Tuesday or Wednesday he would play, but hopefully we get him back sooner rather than later."

Bradley started the team's first 43 games of the season before suffering the ankle injury in Miami in late January. He tried to return after an initial five-game absence but the pain persisted, putting him back on the shelf for much of February.

The Celtics have brought Bradley back slowly this time and is eager to get back on -- and stay on -- the court.

"It comes with how I play -- especially with an injury like this -- how hard I play," he said. "It's been unfortunate, but I definitely have to watch it because obviously I'm competitive, I want to help my team and I want to get out there. But that's probably why I've been sitting out so long. They've been holding me back. They don’t want me to make a mistake or go out there and hurt myself again."

The 23-year-old Bradley is averaging career-bests at 14.3 points and 3.9 rebounds over 30.6 minutes per game this season.

Notebook: Celts injury roundup

February, 26, 2014
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BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics navigated Wednesday's 115-104 triumph over the Atlanta Hawks with only nine available bodies. A rundown of the injury report:

Bradley's return remains uncertain

Celtics guard Avery Bradley, who has missed 13 of the team's past 16 games due to a lingering right ankle sprain, said Wednesday that he's improving but has not engaged in any basketball activities and has no timeline for his return to game action.

Bradley did not accompany the team on its four-game trip out west after the All-Star break and hasn't played since Feb. 9. He missed five games in January with a right ankle sprain, then aggravated the injury trying to resume game activity.

"It’s been very frustrating, not to be able to be there for my team, especially on a tough West Coast trip," Bradley said. "Watching the games has been tough. Having another setback, another year -- it’s been hard on me. All I can do is get healthy and try to get back as soon as possible."

Bradley's rookie season was detoured after he required surgery on his ankle after he chipped a bone in a pre-draft workout. He emerged in his sophomore season, but suffered injuries to both shoulders that required surgery and forced him to sit out much of the playoffs that season, as well as the first 30 games of the 2012-13 season.

Bradley appeared in the first 43 games of the 2013-14 campaign before spraining his ankle in Miami. Bradley was asked if he's being extra cautious trying to return this time after rushing back too soon earlier this month.

"Not only me, but I think [the team is] as well," he said. "We don’t want to irritate it any more and go back to where I started at. We’re just taking our time and letting everything calm down."

Does Bradley feel snakebitten?

"Of course, but at the same time, I play so hard, I know that injuries like this can happen sometimes," he said. "Twisting your ankle, that’s part of the game. I’m not really worried about it. I know that nothing is broke or anything. I’m fine. All I have to do is get better so I can help my team."



Sprained toe sidelines Olynyk

Celtics rookie Kelly Olynyk sprained the big toe on his left foot during Saturday's loss at Sacramento, then aggravated it while trying to play through the pain on Monday in Utah. The team feared he might have broken the toe, but tests revealed a sprain that should limit the time he misses.

Olynyk wore a protective walking boot while watching Wednesday's game from the bench.

"We actually thought it was broken [Tuesday, but] got good news today," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "He’s going to be in a boot for at least the next couple of days. Probably unlikely [to play Saturday against the Pacers], but possibly."

Olynyk said he's not even sure how the injury happened, but he's likely in the boot for the rest of the week. When will he be back?

"Not sure," he said. "Trying to get this boot off first. Hopefully, sooner than later."

Olynyk scored 21 points despite the toe injury in Utah.

"I was just running on the outside of my foot," he said. When a reporter joked he shouldn't mess with what works, Olynyk added, "That’s true. I could try and do that. It might cause more problems."

(Read full post)

PHOENIX -- Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley and center Vitor Faverani will not join the team on a four-game road trip coming out of the All-Star break due to lingering injuries.

Bradley aggravated a second sprain of his right ankle before the break and, after missing five games last month with an initial sprain, appears set to miss at least as many from the new sprain. Faverani is nursing a knee injury suffered in a D-League appearance, but the team anticipates him being available again when it returns home next week.

"Avery and Vitor are not on the trip, they will not play the whole trip," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.

On Bradley, Stevens noted, "I was told [after a recent MRI before the break] that it definitely had been aggravated and worse since whenever he sprained it the second time. And that he’d be out for [the San Antonio] game and most likely the West Coast trip, but I didn’t say that at the time because I didn’t want to say that and come back on those words."

As for Faverani, Stevens said, "I think Vitor was sick right before we left in the San Antonio game, but the knee, he got reexamined [Monday] and [the team's training staff] called me [Monday] and decided not to send him on the trip. They are going to keep him there, and he gets to work on all our equipment. Work on that [weightless] Ultra-G [treadmill] and get himself back, fully conditioned and ready, so that when we get back, I anticipate he should be near ready to go."

The Celtics held their first post-All-Star practice Tuesday afternoon at the US Airways Center. They'll have 11 available bodies for Wednesday's tilt with the Suns (excused Keith Bogans also remains away from the team), but Boston is thin, and will be thinner if there's any activity at the trade deadline.

What's more, point guard Rajon Rondo noted that he plans to sit out the second night of a back-to-back on Saturday in Sacramento. The Celtics also play Friday in Los Angeles and Rondo doesn't want to attempt three games in four nights this early in his return from ACL surgery.

"Not yet. I don’t feel comfortable," Rondo said. "It’s three in four nights, that’s a lot of games. Maybe if we had three days off, then two days [with a] back-to-back and two [more] days off, maybe then."

Rondo has appeared in 10 games since returning on Jan. 17 against the Lakers. His minute restriction recently was lifted and he expects to play in back-to-back games later this season.

Bradley (ankle) out indefinitely

February, 12, 2014
Feb 12
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BOSTON -- Further testing on the ailing right ankle of Boston Celtics shooting guard Avery Bradley revealed a second sprain and his status to return after the All-Star break is uncertain.

Bradley missed five games last month due to an initial sprain on Jan. 21 in Miami. He returned on Feb. 2, but the team believes Bradley suffered a second sprain three days later in Philadelphia. He sat out one game last week before attempting to return on Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks, but Bradley looked off and the team removed him from the game in the second half.

Bradley underwent another MRI on the ankle that revealed the new sprain. After meeting with team doctors, the Celtics decided to shut him down through the All-Star break, but coach Brad Stevens said it's unclear if he'll be ready when the team resumes play next Wednesday.

"We did another look at it, he’s out tonight, and then possibly will be out after that," Stevens said before Wednesday night's game against the San Antonio Spurs. "Hopefully it’s going to be something that’s not long term, or doesn't look like it will be. It looks like it’s just the same as the first one, so not a long-term thing."

Stevens said the team operated with caution after the first sprain, ensuring that Bradley was 100 percent before putting him back on the floor, and said they'll do the same this time around.

"It’s always concerning when a guy is unable to play," Stevens said. "Again, it’s not a long-term issue. We’ll be very [cautious] -- like I thought we were last time from everything that I could tell. I know that our doctors and our training staff will do their due diligence and will be very conservative with bringing him back, as we should be."

Bradley sat out 12 days after the initial sprain and a similar timeline from the Philadelphia game puts him back around the time the team starts back up after the All-Star break. After Wednesday's game against the Spurs, the Celtics have four days off from basketball activities before reconvening in Phoenix, but don't play again until next Wednesday against the Suns.

Bradley is averaging 14.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists over 30.6 minutes per game in 46 appearances.

Notebook: Bradley not himself

February, 9, 2014
Feb 9
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BOSTON -- Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley, who sat out Friday's win over the Sacramento Kings after tweaking his right ankle, labored through Sunday's return to action and did not play over the final 20 minutes.

Bradley finished with five points on 2-of-13 shooting (15.4 percent) with a turnover and two fouls over 18:58. He was minus-11 in plus/minus.

“I don’t know if he didn’t feel well or not, I just didn’t think he looked like himself and he was obviously struggling through a [poor] shooting night so I just went in another direction," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "Obviously, we believe in Avery, we have great faith in Avery, that Avery will continue to be a very good player for us. But tonight I felt like to go in another direction.”

Bradley missed five games last month with a sprained right ankle. He twisted that same ankle in Philadelphia on Wednesday, causing him to sit out Friday's game.

OLYNYK: 'I LOVE WATCHING DIRK'

Kelly Olynyk would have been a pre-teen when countryman Steve Nash was emerging as an All-Star with the Dallas Mavericks, but it was the Mavericks' 7-footer with the long hair and sweet stroke that often caught Olynyk's eye.

"I love watching Dirk and what he can do," admitted Olynyk. "He’s a guy that I’ve watched since I was really little."

Olynyk, the 13th overall pick in June's draft, now sports No. 41, long hair, and a pretty-looking jump shot, so the comparison to Nowitzki -- even if a bit unfair at this stage of their careers -- is impossible to avoid. That hasn't stopped Stevens from encouraging Olynyk to study the game of Dallas' 11-time All-Star.

"[Nowitzki is] a guy that I’m sure Kelly, whether he’ll say this or not, looks up to. And should," said Stevens. "He’s a guy that has great skill, that can stretch the defense, that doesn’t hesitate to shoot, score. He can really pass the ball if you bring two [defenders] to him. ... Kelly’s got a great feel for the game, Kelly can really pass the ball. He’s becoming a less-reluctant shooter which is good. But we talked about that this summer. That’s a big thing for Kelly to, almost change his look on how he views himself as an offensive player, that is he needs to shoot more freely and think of himself as more of a shooter and a scorer. That being said, Kelly is a young guy with a bright future ahead of him and we’ll see how that all plays itself out. But for now, Dirk is a guy that he should look up to."

Olynyk finished with six points on 2-of-7 shooting with six rebounds during Sunday's loss to Nowitzki and the Mavericks. While Olynyk stressed that there were plenty of players that influence his game -- his passing skills reflect Nash's influence -- he offered high praise for Nowitzki.

"He’s a great guy for a lot of people to look up to," admitted Olynyk. "He’s a perennial All-Star, NBA championship, international player. Really skilled in a lot of different facets of the game. He’s a big-time player."

PRESSEY SUPPORTS SAM

Michael Sam, an All-American defensive lineman from the University of Missouri, revealed publicly that he is gay on Sunday. Phil Pressey, also a Missouri product, offered his support for Sam.

"Everybody is open to their own decision. He made it," said Pressey. "He said that his teammates were supportive of it. That's no surprise at all. He's loved around Mizzou. He did a tremendous job there and I wish him the best."

Practice: Bradley questionable vs. Mavs

February, 8, 2014
Feb 8
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WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics shooting guard Avery Bradley engaged in some light shooting before the team's practice Saturday afternoon, but remains a game-time decision for Sunday's visit from the Dallas Mavericks.

Bradley, who missed five games last month after spraining his right ankle in Miami, twisted the same ankle in his second game back on Wednesday in Philadelphia and elected to sit out Friday's win over the Sacramento Kings.

"Other than if you had to get taped for some reason, [Saturday] is an untaped kind of light workout, so I think he'll see how he feels and we'll go from there," Stevens said of Bradley. "I think he feels a little bit better this morning than he did [Friday]. Again, we'll kind of see how it goes. He'll shoot. He'll go through all the light stuff early."

Bradley's status for Sunday's game will be re-evaluated before the team engages in a game-day shootaround at TD Garden.

Stevens applauded the way his players responded without the starting backcourt of Bradley and Rajon Rondo against the Kings, but noted that's what he expects from them.

"I hope you never hear [Boston lean on missing bodies] from the excuse standpoint," said Stevens. "Everybody here is paid to be a professional. Everybody here is paid to play basketball. And when somebody's not available, you step up and you fill that void. The big football term is, 'Next man up.' I believe in that. But at the same time, it is difficult when you don't have everybody available, and it is great that guys did step in, and all 10 guys that were available played and played pretty well."

WALLACE SORE AFTER LATEST CRASH

Gerald 'Crash' Wallace lived up to his nickname on Friday night, spilling hard to the floor midway through the fourth quarter. That didn't prevent him from flirting with a triple-double (8 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists) in Boston's win over the Kings, but the 31-year-old admitted he was feeling that spill (as part of 40 minutes of floor time) on Saturday.

"I’m sore. My whole body is sore," said Wallace. "You’ve just got to rest, take care of yourself, keep going. I’m used to it. This is the first time I’ve felt like it this season, playing that type of game. It’s just something I’ve got to deal with and move on from it."

Wallace, who made a spot start Friday for Bradley, admitted he was aware of how close he was to his first career triple-double (Jeff Green was alerting him from the sideline as he waited to check into the game). But that fourth-quarter spill took Wallace's mind off the box score.

"I think after that fall, I kind of wore down," said Wallace. "Me and Jeff were talking about it, because he was preaching from the sideline about what I needed. I think after that fall, I kind of slowed down a little it. I'm not worried about it. As long as we got the win. ... I’ll take the win over the triple-double any day."

Wallace said the NBA schedule does a number on a player's body even with just typical bumps and bruises.

"It’s brutal. You’ve just got to know how to take care of your body," he said. "You’ve got to rest. You’ve got to get treatment. You’ve got to do the things that you’ve got to do keep your body going, because, regardless of how your body feels, the games are going to keep coming. And you’ve got to prepare yourself for that. I think it’s more mental than physical, even though you have the bumps and bruises. At the same time, preparation helps out a lot in helping take care of your body."

Read on for a few more notes from Saturday's practice access:

(Read full post)

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
16.9 1.7 0.7 34.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksK. Humphries 0.9