BOSTON -- Theres a difference between worry and frustration.
After falling to 5-9 and losing six of their last seven games on Friday, Ray Allen is feeling the latter.
I dont have a worry about it because if I had a team that had guys on here that couldnt play, couldnt understand how to play this game, they were young and had to learn, I would be troubled, he said following the Celtics 79-71 loss to the Phoenix Suns. Whats frustrating about it is I do have guys that know how to play and understand the game.
Allen scored a team-high 14 points (4-8 FG) and noted that he, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce havent been having the freedom to score as much as they did in the past when they had more open looks and better ball movement. The trios scoring averages are all down from last season.
The Celtics have to change to get back on track, and theyre looking for an answer.
I dont know if weve got to simplify it or switch it around just a little bit different, said Allen. But I think weve got to stop over thinking it. When we get the ball, weve got to post up more, I think, but we definitely just have to be able to put the ball in the hoop. I think it changes a lot of whats been ailing us.
In spite of their struggles this season, Allen knows what his teammates are capable of. With the exception of Kendrick Perkins, it is the same starting group that won a title in 2008 and came close in following seasons. They may be older, but Allen believes they still have what it takes to win.
Its tough. Ive played on teams where you lose a lot, but this locker room, were not losers, he said. This hurts everybody deeply, so weve got to figure out how to get better and how to help each other get better.
WALTHAM, Mass. – The right Achilles’ strain that has kept Avery Bradley out of five of the Celtics’ past six games, will continue to keep the 6-foot-2 guard sidelined.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will not play Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Stevens added that no additional tests have been taken and the Achilles’ itself is structurally fine.
“He’s got a lot of soreness around it, and that’s one of those things you have to be ultra-careful with,” said Stevens, who later added that Bradley would not practice with the team today. “When he [Bradley] came back, he said he felt a lot better, and then he played and the next day he practiced. We didn’t do anything live but he did a lot of cutting and did not feel near as good. That’s why he didn’t play Wednesday.”
The absence of Bradley was clearly felt in a 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, a game in which Knicks guard Derrick Rose – the man Bradley would have likely spent defending most of the game – scored 30 points.
This season, all-NBA first team defender is the Celtics’ No. 2 scorer at 17 points per game along with averaging a team-best 6.9 rebounds.
In addition, Bradley is shooting a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range, as well as dishing out 2.4 assists per game, which also represents a career-high for the 26-year-old.
WALTHAM, Mass. – To dunk or not to dunk with the best in the NBA?
That is the question Celtics rookie forward Jaylen Brown is grappling with these days.
The 6-foot-7 Brown confirmed that he has been invited to be part of the league’s Slam Dunk competition at All-Star weekend, but hasn’t made up his mind as to whether he will participate.
Brown said he’ll likely make a decision about it sometime this weekend.
While he certainly understands that is indeed an honor for any player to be asked to participate in All-Star weekend, Brown said his trepidation about being part of the slam dunk competition has a lot to do with its potential impact on his body and how that may affect his ability to recharge over the weekend and get ready to finish out his rookie season strong.
If he decided to enter the contest, he would be facing some really stiff competition from last year’s winner Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, whose battle last season put their slam dunk competition among the best ever.
Facing tough competition is not something that concerns Brown.
“I’m not worried about anybody or anything,” Brown said. “I think I have a lot to offer. Just like your rookie year, your body and everything … it’s a lot. All those dunks, they look cool but it takes a toll on your body for sure. I want to put myself in the best position to help the team.”
While his focus has been on the Celtics, Brown acknowledged he has been getting a few tips on the competition from teammate Gerald Green, who is also a former Slam Dunk champion.
“[Gerald] Green has been coaching me up, giving me a lot of good ideas I wouldn’t have thought on my own,” Brown said. “If I do decide to do it, it’ll be some stuff [nobody] has seen before.”