All eyes on Avery Bradley

All eyes on Avery Bradley
April 6, 2012, 7:44 pm
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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."