Ailing Bradley will try to play tonight vs. Pistons


Ailing Bradley will try to play tonight vs. Pistons

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. Avery Bradley's status for tonight's game against Detroit is still up in the air, though the 6-foot-2 guard planned to participate in the team's morning shootaround.

To what extent was unclear.

One thing is clear: He's going to do whatever he can to get back on the floor, possibly as early as tonight.

"I think it's really Avery's call," said coach Doc Rivers. "It's a pain-tolerance thing. And that's a very painful injury. My guess is he's not playing, but he's going to try to work out today."

Bradley did not play in Boston's 100-99 overtime loss to Chicago on Friday because of a rib injury suffered in the C's 90-78 loss to New Orleans on Wednesday.

"It's still a little sore," Bradley said prior to this morning's shootaround. "I'll find out closer to the game if I'm going to play tonight or not."

He said the injury occurred when he took a blow from Hornets center Robin Lopez on Wednesday.

"I lost my breath, got hit in my . . . ribs, like the end of the game," Bradley recalled. "At first it hurt, but the adrenaline kept me going until I sat down on the bench and I felt it. And later on in the night, I could really feel it."

The injury is just the latest in what has been an injury-plagued career for Bradley, who is in his third season all with the Celtics, and all involving him missing some games due to an injury.

He has played in just eight games this season after missing the first 30 while recovering from surgery to both shoulders.

"Very frustrating" is how Bradley describes his latest setback.

"I already missed a lot of games this year. Not to be able to help my team is frustrating."

But the way Bradley plays to some degree makes him more susceptible to suffering injuries that can sideline him for a period of time.

While his current injuty may not necessarily fall into that category, Bradley does acknowledge that he may have to modify his game somewhat in order to stay healthier for more extended periods of time.

"Definitely, I feel as I get older I'll be able to pick my spots; be able to protect myself more so I don't get injured as much."

Teammate Jason Terry thinks Bradley doesn't need to modify is game but rather, his in-game attire.

"For him, he just has to play with padding, like Rajon Rondo," Terry said. "Ribs, shins, elbows, sleeves . . . because that's his game, going all-out. I think he should make that adjustment before he does anything else. But don't change your game; play the same way."

Added Rivers: "He'll probably be a guy that's injured. He'll miss some games but he'll get better at it and play a lot of games. He'll miss a couple games a year. But you want him to play the way he plays. That's what makes him effective."

Pregame number: Al Horford to the rescue


Pregame number: Al Horford to the rescue

Tonight’s pregame number to watch is 45.4%. That was the Celtics' score frequency on pick and rolls finished by the screener last season, which was the worst rate in the NBA.

Score Frequency: The percentage of possession in which the team or player scores at least 1 point.

The major problem for the Celtics last season was personnel, as Jared Sullinger finished the most pick and roll plays for the C’s after setting a screen, and he was -- to put it nicely -- freaking terrible. Sullinger was the second-worst roll/pop man in the league, averaging a paltry 0.87 points per possession.

Fortunately, the Celtics replaced Jared Sullinger with four-time All-Star Al Horford, who is one of the elite roll/pop men in the NBA. Last season, Horford finished fifth in the NBA averaging 1.13 points per possession as a roll/pop man and boasted a more than solid 57.1 eFG% on those plays. 

eFG% (Effective Field Goal Percentage): Measures field goal percentage adjusting for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth one more point than a 2-point field goal. The equation is ((FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA

If you watched the preseason, then you already know the kind of impact Horford can have on the Celtics half court offense. So keep an eye out for those pick and rolls tonight and throughout the season, and we should see that 45.4% Score Frequency jump somewhere closer to 50%.

Horford-Celtics partnership gives both stability, chance to win


Horford-Celtics partnership gives both stability, chance to win

BOSTON –  This is not where Al Horford thought he would be right now.
Back in May, the Atlanta Hawks had just been swept out of the playoffs by the soon-to-be NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
Disappointed with the outcome obviously, Horford was a free agent-to-be who was confident that he would be back in Atlanta and the Hawks would retool by adding to their core group which he was a major part of, and they would be back to making another run at it this season.
First there was the draft night trade of point guard Jeff Teague to the Indiana Pacers. 
And during Horford's negotiations with the Hawks in July, they were also negotiating with Dwight Howard and ultimately signed the Atlanta native to a three-year, $70.5 million contract. 
Before the Howard deal was complete, the Celtics had already made a strong impression on Horford during their presentation to him. 
So the choice was pretty clear.
Return to Atlanta and potentially have a major logjam up front with himself, Howard and Paul Millsap, or join a Celtics team that’s on the rise where his five-tool skillset – passing, rebounding, defending, scoring and making those around him better – could be put to great use on a team that’s clearly on the rise. 
Horford chose the latter, giving both himself and the Celtics exactly what they wanted – stability and a chance to win at the highest of levels.
The first shot to see how this basketball marriage looks on the floor will be tonight when the Celtics kick off the 2016-2017 season at the TD Garden against the Brooklyn Nets. 
The preseason isn’t the best indicator of what’s on the horizon now that games count, but Horford’s presence was undeniable.
Boston’s starters which includes Horford, Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Amir Johnson, each finished with a positive, double-digit plus/minus in the preseason. 
“He just makes the game so much easier for all of us,” Johnson told “He can do so many things out there at both ends of the floor. He’s going to be big for us this season.”
And his impact can be felt both on the floor and inside the locker room, similar to what he brought to the Atlanta Hawks.
“With the way that I go about it is, I’m trying to win,” Horford told “I’m gonna work, put in my work, try to help guys get better not only on the court but off the court as well. That’s how I carry myself.”
 And it is that approach to the game that has made his transition to the Celtics a relatively seamless one. 
Horford holds many fond memories of his time in Atlanta, a place that will always be near and dear to his heart. 
But he’s a Celtic now, coming in with the same single-minded focus that drives this organization to continue pursuing the only thing that truly matters to them – an NBA title. 
"Even though I’m leaving a lot behind, as a player you always want to be in the best position you can,” Horford said. “I felt for me being on this team would put me in a position to be able to contend and win an NBA championship. That’s my ultimate goal.”