All eyes on Avery Bradley


All eyes on Avery Bradley

INDIANAPOLIS Avery Bradley is no longer just another name on the Boston Celtics roster.

The 6-foot-2 combo guard is starting to see teams devise more ways to try and limit the impact he makes defensively.

That was indeed the case in Boston's 93-86 loss to Chicago, and there's a good chance you'll see some if not all of the same tactics used by the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

"A lot of teams know I like to pressure people," Bradley said. "They like to set a lot of screens on me, and not just any type of screen - but hard screens. So it's something I'm going to have to put up with."

Throughout Thursday's game, Bradley took more than his share of hard screens set by Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and just about every other big man for the Bulls.

But Chicagoslowed him down in other ways as well.

On more than one occasion following a made basket by the Celtics, a Chicago big man would basically wrap around Bradley in a manner that created a little more breathing room for their point guards against Bradley's suffocating ball pressure.

That adjustment made it tougher for Bradley to keep close tabs on the Chicago guards, and it also factored heavily in him being in foul trouble.

"It's frustrating, but I'm going to continue to bring it every single time," Bradley said. "If I get a foul called on me or if I get scored on, I'm still going to keep bringing it to my opponent."

And as far as the tactics used by Chicago's big men to free up their guards, Bradley said, "stuff like that happens. All I can do is control what I do, and just keep going in and playing the game hard."

True, but it speaks to how far Bradley has come not only in the eyes of the Celtics, but also opponents.

"He's terrific," said Chicago head coach and former Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau. "He's shown he can guard multiple positions. His ball pressure is great. He can guard guys bigger than him. He's a multiple effort guy."

While Bradley's strength as a defender does make him somewhat unique in terms of young NBA guards, his game has to evolve just like a young guard who can score lots of points soon finds himself a higher priority on the opposing team's scouting report.

"I'm going to make adjustments," Bradley said. "Just like they learned how to get me off my guy, I'm going to have to learn how to get through the screens."

Clayborn beats out Seymour, Vrabel to enter Patriots Hall of Fame


Clayborn beats out Seymour, Vrabel to enter Patriots Hall of Fame

Raymond Clayborn has been voted into the Patriots Hall of Fame, beating out both Mike Vrabel and Richard Seymour for the honor. The corner, who is tied for the franchise record for interceptions with Ty Law (36), will be the 26th person inducted to the Hall. 

Clayborn was a three-time Pro Bowler (1983, 1985, 1986) during his 13-year Patriots career from 1977 through 1989. He was drafted by the Patriots in the first round (16th overall) out of Texas in 1977, and chipped in both in the secondary and as a kick returner. As a rookie in the return game, he averaged 31 yards per return and brought back three for touchdowns. 

Clayborn reacted to the news on Twitter soon after the announcement was made. 

"I was fortunate to be a season ticket holder during Raymond's entire Patriots career," Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said in a statement. "For the first half of his career, he teamed with Michael Haynes to form one of the best corner tandems in league history. Throughout his career, Raymond was a physical, shutdown corner.

"One of my favorite memories was watching the 1985 team advance to the Super Bowl after Raymond helped us break the Orange Bowl curse when he stymied future Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino with a dominant performance against Pro Bowl receivers Mark Duper and Mark Clayton. Raymond had six passes defensed and an interception to help us claim our first conference title. It was the greatest upset victory in franchise history at the time and one the entire New England region celebrated. It is a well-deserved honor and I look forward to presenting him his hall of fame jacket."

Clayborn has been a finalist for each of the last four years but was not able to generate enough support in the annual online vote to beat out Ty Law (2014 inductee), Willie McGinest (2015) or Kevin Faulk (2016). Clayborn was eligible to be voted in by the senior committee since he's now been retired for 25 years, but he did not receive the requisite eight of 10 senior committee votes to be elected in that way. 

As it turns out, he didn't need to be. When Kraft called Clayborn with the news, he said Clayborn received over 40 percent of the vote to beat out the pair of three-time Super Bowl champs.