All eyes on Avery Bradley

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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."

Patriots release DT Darius Kilgo, reportedly sign WR Griff Whalen

Patriots release DT Darius Kilgo, reportedly sign WR Griff Whalen

The New England Patriots have announced that they've released defensive tackle Darius Kilgo. 

The move creates an opening for wide receiver Griff Whalen, who they have reportedly signed to a one-year deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Kilgo, a sixth-round pick out of Maryland in 2015, did not make an appearance for the Patriots after being claimed off waivers from the Broncos last week. He played 81 snaps for Denver this season.

Whalen, 26, played in two games for San Diego in 2016 where he caught two passes for a total of 22 yards. 

The former Colts wideout is perhaps best remembered in New England for his part in Indianapolis' disastrous fake punt against the Patriots last season.

 

 

 

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics are about to hit one of the toughest stretches of the season and they’ll have to do it for at least one more game without their leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas. 
 
Thomas, who suffered a right groin injury on Monday against the Houston Rockets, did not play on Wednesday against Orlando and said that he will not play in Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors. 
 
“It’s day to day. I want to play. I want to be out there but it’s the smart decision to hold out and wait until it’s 100 percent,” Thomas said during a Season of Giving event for children of the Military Friends Foundation held at the Celtics’ practice facility. “If it was a playoff game I would be out there for sure.”
 
However, after consulting with a number of medical personnel, Thomas decided the best thing for him and the Celtics was to sit out Friday’s game which, along with Wednesday in Orlando, will be the first two he has missed since the 2014-2015 season. 
 
Thomas said there’s no specific timetable for his return, but he said he is planning to travel with the team to Oklahoma City for their matchup against the Thunder on Sunday. 
 
“It’s eating me a live to sit, but I have to do what’s best for my body, I have to do what’s best for this team,” Thomas said. “I need to be 100 percent healthy to give this team what I can give them.”
 
The Celtics are hoping for similar success they had Wednesday in Orlando (a 117-87 victory) on Friday against Toronto.
 
“They played a hell of a game last night,” Thomas said. “They’ll be ready tomorrow.”
 
The fact that Thomas intends to travel with the team is a good sign that the groin injury isn’t too serious. 
 
If he doesn’t play at Oklahoma City, that likely means he’ll return to action on Wednesday at San Antonio. 
 
“I’m going to do what I can to get back out there on the court,” Thomas said. “I gotta be smart about this. I don’t want this to linger on this season.”
 
Replacing Smart in the lineup against Toronto will most likely be Marcus Smart. 
 
Smart, who has been a replacement starter at small forward and point guard this season, had 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals against the Magic.