... but lose a key player to a broken hand

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... but lose a key player to a broken hand

From Comcast SportsNet
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Clippers forward Caron Butler broke his left hand Sunday in Game 1 of Los Angeles' series against the Memphis Grizzlies. Butler had 12 points and two rebounds in 23 minutes, and the Clippers rallied without him. They tied the NBA playoff record for largest deficit overcome at the end of three quarters, when they trailed by 21, and beat the Grizzlies 99-98. The forward said he thinks he got hurt early in the third quarter when his hand got caught during a pin-down screen in the jersey of Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay, another former Connecticut star. He was able to keep playing but once he went to the bench, he noticed his hand throbbing. He went to the locker room for an X-ray and returned to the bench. "I was about to go back in the game, and got the X-ray results," Butler said. "I told Coach I was ready, and he was about to throw me back in the fire." The veteran forward is one of the few Clippers with playoff experience, though he was injured last year when he was with the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks. A starter, Butler averaged 12 points for the Clippers this season. "I feel terrible for him," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He's been such a pro for us, but injuries are part of it. Other guys are going to have to step up like they did tonight. But replacing Caron right now ... he's been so valuable for us all year. I know the guys feel bad." Gay was told about Butler's injury after the game. "People are going to step up, and we're not expecting anything to be easy with Caron or without Caron," Gay said. "We're going to have to go out and play hard."

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics host the Raptors at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

BOSTON – Avery Bradley doesn’t mind being a standout, but this is probably not what he had in mind. 

Injuries have ravaged the Boston Celtics’ starting five to the point where only one player, Bradley, has been with the first unit in all 22 games this season. 

Just like Bradley was looked upon to step his game up in the absence of Isaiah Thomas (right groin) at Orlando on Wednesday, he will once again be challenged to lead Boston (13-9) to victory tonight when the Thomas-less Celtics face the Toronto Raptors. 

Bradley’s emergence as a two-way talent this season has overshadowed at times what has been another season of elite play defensively. 

And he’ll need to be on top of his defensive game tonight against a Raptors All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. 

Both Lowry and DeRozan present a different kind of challenge for Bradley who will spend time defending each of them at various points during the game. 

Lowry has good size, strength and deceptive quickness in addition to an under-rated perimeter game that will keep Bradley on his toes for sure. 

This season he's averaging 20.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and a career-high 7.6 assists while shooting 42.9 percent on 3's which is also a career mark. 

And DeRozan is having the kind of season that might get him a few league MVP votes. 

His 28.0 points per game ranks fifth in the NBA, but making his numbers even more impressive is that unlike most guards DeRozan doesn’t generate much offense from three-pointers.

DeRozan averages 1.8 three-point attempts per game which is the fewest attempts among any player ranked among the league’s top-25 scorers.

The 6-foot-7 All-Star is the master of the mid-range game which accounts for 31.5 percent of the points he scores. And when he’s not shooting the mid-range, he’s working a defender in one-on-one iso-situations. 

That helps explain why 76.4 percent of his two-point made field goals are unassisted. 

But here’s the thing about Bradley. 

As much as we give him props for what he does defensively, it’s his offense that has put him on the map as a potential All-Star this season. 

Bradley is averaging a career-high 17.9 points while shooting 47.2 percent from the field. He’s also averaging a career-high 7.8 rebounds per game in addition to shooting a career-high 40.7 percent on 3's.

But for Bradley, individual accolades are only going to come his way by the Celtics winning games; preferably against above-average teams like the Toronto Raptors.

And that would make both Bradley and the Celtics stand out this season.