Peverley returns with a vengence

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Peverley returns with a vengence

BOSTON -- Rich Peverley admitted there was a little bit of adjustment after missing the last two games because of an undisclosed injury.

Keyword: Little.

Peverley, who had practiced but not played in a game since November 5, wasted hardly any time getting back into action on Saturday night during the Bruins' 6-2 win over the Sabres at TD Garden.

He was skating well tonight and he didnt seem like he missed a beat, said coach Claude Julien. He was using his outside speed, carrying it deep into the Buffalo zone, and thats what we needed to do. We needed to get that puck in deep and he was able to do that a lot of times under control. I liked his game. For having missed the last two, I thought he came back real strong.

Peverley scored the Bs first goal, which tied the game at 1-1, less than eight minutes into the second period. In the third period, he assisted on a goal by Chris Kelly.

Not a bad nights work for someone who had been eagerly waiting to get back in action.

You are playing on adrenaline because you want to get back in, he said. You want to use your assets to help the team wherever that may be. I dont like sitting so its great to be able to help the team whatever way I can.

Peverley was mum on the details of what had kept him sidelined -- Theyre just calling it an undisclosed minor injury, he said -- but did note that he felt close to 100 percent following the game. He also said the decision to play was mutual between him and the medical staff.

Another mutual agreement? The excitement shared by both Peverley and his teammates for him to be back on the ice.

He was huge, said Brad Marchand. He had a great goal tonight to get us going and then another great play on Kells goal. For him to come back the way he did and have a big game tonight, it was huge for us. Hes been able to jump in and go up and down the lineup and everywhere he plays, he contributes to the line and really carries his weight. Hes been a great player for us so far and it was huge having him back tonight. It really helped us out.

Echoed Tyler Seguin: He was really good tonight. He stepped in and played a really big part of our win tonight. Obviously his goal and even better his pass, just his all-around complete game tonight. He didnt waste any time getting back in his groove.

While being sidelined for the past two games has given Peverley a chance to watch his team from a different perspective -- I think when we play simple, keep the game simple, things are positive for us and it keeps showing in our game, he assessed -- nothing compares to the vantage point he has on the ice.

You realize that you want to be in there and you want to do what you can, he said. It gives you that much more eagerness to want to get in and play.

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

BOSTON – Wednesday’s 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks was the fifth time in the last six games that Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley was out because of a right Achilles injury.

Well, it appears the 6-foot-2 guard may miss a few more with this injury.

“I can see him missing a little more time,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said following Wednesday’s loss. “I just think maybe he came back a little bit too early, whatever the case may be.”

Bradley was expected to play against the Knicks, but was a last-minute scratch.

Celtics big man Al Horford said he didn’t find out Bradley was out until the team was on the floor doing pre-game warmups and he didn’t see him.

“He was really sore,” Stevens said of Bradley. “Went through our walk-through and then came on to the court and did some stuff and was more sore today than he has been. I think he did treatment the whole game.”

This latest setback for Bradley is part of a growing narrative that has dogged him throughout his career which has included him missing games to injury in each of his six-plus NBA seasons.

Bradley came into this season once again hoping to be as injury-free as possible, only to see that dream dashed with this right Achilles strain he's suffering with currently.

Still, there’s no downplaying the significance and value the Celtics have in the 26-year-old. This season, he is second on the Celtics in scoring at 17.7 points per game and leads them in rebounds with 6.9 per game with both being career highs. In addition, he averages just under 35 minutes per game which is also tops on the team.

Marcus Smart has been Stevens’ choice to replace Bradley in the starting lineup when Bradley has been unavailable, and that’s not likely to change between now and Saturday’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Horford on rough night vs. Knicks: 'They deserved to win. They played better'

Horford on rough night vs. Knicks: 'They deserved to win. They played better'

BOSTON – With the night’s outcome all but a foregone conclusion, Al Horford’s last basket of the night got a sarcastic round of applause and a few jeers from the few fans that decided to stick it out for the final few seconds of Boston’s 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks.

Horford finished with a season-low five points for the Celtics (26-16).

Connecting on just 2-for-14 (or 14.3 percent) of his shots also represented the worst shooting night percentage-wise in Horford’s nine-plus NBA seasons.

“I struggled bad offensively,” said Horford who still managed to dish out a game-high 10 assists. “I tried to do anything I could to help us. It just wasn’t going for me.”

But as poorly as Horford shot the ball, he was more bothered by his defense and for that matter the Celtics’ team defense.

New York came into Wednesday’s game having lost 11 of its last 13 games and spent most of the night playing like a team that’s thirsty for a win.

They shot 50.5 percent from the floor, 40 percent on 3’s and dominated the glass 57-33 which helped fuel New York’s 24-12 advantage in second-chance points.

“We have to do a better job of holding teams to one shot,” Horford said. “That’s the first thing. I have to do a better job at protecting the rim. I know I can recall a couple instances where I needed to be there and I wasn’t impacting the ball as much as I would like to. I know I have to be better on the defensive end.”

Horford’s struggles on many levels mirrored the problems experienced by the rest of the Celtics.

“They punked us,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas who led all scorers with 39 points. “They were the harder playing team on both ends of the floor. That was the definition of this game; they played harder than us.”

For most of the night, the New York Knicks were making all the big plays defensively and clutch shots offensively while the Celtics consistently failed to get that one defensive stop or knock down the one jumper that could have at least shifted the game’s momentum closer to being in their favor.

Boston rookie Jaylen Brown believes the Celtics didn’t take the struggling Knicks as seriously as they should have.

“It’s very frustrating,” said Brown who came off the bench to score 12 points for Boston (26-16). “It’s a game we should have won. We underestimated our opponent. We are a better team than that even though we played bad we still had a lot of opportunities to win the ball game.”

Horford had a different take on how things went down on Wednesday.

“I don’t think we overlooked them,” Horford said. “But I think we kind of … consciously or not, we felt we were going to win this game like, ‘We’ll struggle a little bit, but we’ll figure it out and win it.’ It didn’t work like that. In the fourth, we were right there. They made a couple shots. They deserved to win. They played better.”

And as the Celtics found themselves on multiple occasions having a chance to tie the game or take the lead in the fourth, it would have been fool’s good if they somehow managed to squeak out a win on Wednesday night.

“We didn’t deserve it,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder who had 21 points. “When you don’t deserve it, the basketball gods don’t bless you.”

But there’s plenty of season left to be played, and the Celtics – as we saw on Wednesday – have plenty of room for improvement.

Especially Horford, particularly when it comes to getting back on track shooting the ball.

“It was at the point where I didn’t have it,” he said. “That was tough. So I tried to impact the game in other ways whether it was setting screens or giving people shots, stuff like that. That was definitely tough for me because they were good looks. They just didn’t go in.”