Green shines one year after heart surgery


Green shines one year after heart surgery

BOSTON -- As Jeff Green walked off the court, a smile crossed his face wide enough to be seen from rows behind the Boston Celtics bench.   
He had just scored 10 points in 13 first half minutes, a stretch filled with back-to-back dunks in a span of 23 seconds that electrified the TD Garden crowd.   
The image was a stark contrast to the photograph Green tweeted earlier in the day, marking the one year anniversary of his season-ending open heart surgery on January 9, 2012.  
A year ago my life changed...1-9-12 blessed to see another day and thankful for my family and friends. LOVE Y'ALL!!!
The picture showed Green lying in a hospital bed at the Cleveland Clinic, eyes closed, with tubes and IVs coming out of his body.  
"It was hard," Green said prior to the Celtics win over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. "A year ago I was just waking up to find myself laying in there not being able to move with IVs coming out of different places, my chest being split open. To look at that now, to think about how far I've come to be playing back in the NBA, being healthy, being able to run up and down the floor, it's a great journey. So I'm happy for another turn of events that occurred in my life and I think made me a better person."  
Green suffered complications from the surgery and was not given a timetable for a return by his doctors. He was told to take six months for his chest to heal and then the rest would be at his pace.   
Green took his recovery one step at a time and refused to impose deadlines on himself. After everything he had been through, he didn't want to feel disappointed if he missed a self-imposed milestone.  
"I was thinking about the next day, what I needed to do to get better for the next day," said Green. "That's about it."  
Green inked a four-year deal with the Celtics this summer and returned to the court in time for the start of the 2012-13 season. The 6-foot-9 forward has already put together a highlight reel of dunks thus far and has been finding his rhythm and consistency as games progress.   
On the one-year anniversary, Green finished the night with 14 points (5-9 FG, 4-4 FT) and three rebounds in 26 minutes as the Celtics beat the Suns, 87-79.   
"I can't put it into words," he said. "It's a wonderful day." 

Bradley continues adapting, improves ball-handling and court vision


Bradley continues adapting, improves ball-handling and court vision

WALTHAM, Mass. – Just like Avery Bradley comes back each season with a new element in his basketball tool box, defenses have adapted to some degree to try and counter whatever Bradley is doing a better job at.

Before it was take away the mid-range shot and make him a 3-point shooter. Now it’s run him off the 3-point line by closing out hard and fast against him.

Well, running him off the 3-point line is actually playing into the hands of two areas of Bradley’s game that have seen significant growth during the offseason: ball-handling and court vision.

Bradley’s improvement in those areas has been evident in the preseason, something the seventh-year guard hopes to continue in the regular season opener on Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets.

“I worked on my ball-handling a lot,” Bradley said. “Instead of doing all the Kyrie (Irving) stuff that trainers have people do, I tried to focus on just one or two moves, just perfecting a few moves that I can put into my game.”

What we’ve seen from Bradley is better sense of when to attack players with his ball-handling and when to use it as a set-up to get his teammates good shots.

He attributes both to the work he has put in and just becoming an older, more wiser player on the floor.

“I’m able to make plays for my teammates because I’m a lot more confident in my ball-handling, in my play-making and my decision-making," said the 25-year-old Bradley. "I feel a lot more comfortable out there.”

While it may not seem like that big a deal that Bradley’s putting the ball on the floor more and attacking off the dribble, it’s actually really important for this Celtics team.

With Bradley now looking to attack off the dribble more, that means that the Celtics now have a starting five – Isaiah Thomas, Bradley, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson and Al Horford – with each player comfortable and confident in their ability to take most defenders and their respective positions, off the dribble.

That makes Boston a significantly better team offensively in terms of being highly unpredictable and to a larger degree, tougher to contain.

“He’s a great defender, one of the best in the NBA,” Boston’s Amir Johnson told “But people sleep on his offensive game. He can hit the corner 3s, wing 3s, pull-up jumpers … he can pretty much do it all out there. Now that he’s looking to get to the rim more, that just makes him and our team really, much better.”

Indeed, Bradley sounds as though he plans to continue probing different ways to generate points for the Celtics.

One approach he’ll surely take is to do a better job of taking advantage of the mistakes defenses make against him, like players who try and chase him off the 3-point line.

“Me being  a better 3-point shooter should challenge me to think the game a little more,” he said. “If it’s drawing fouls … I know I should be drawing more fouls from the 3-point line. There are times when people are just running out of control at me at the 3-point line. I have to be smarter.”

Bradley added, “I worked on that this summer. It’s translated in practice, so now it needs to translate in games.”