WALTHAM The Boston Celtics pride themselves on being a great defensive team. But that defense took a major blow on Friday when C's head coach announced defensive ace Avery Bradley was having surgery and would be lost for the remainder of the playoffs.
"It's disappointing, especially with what Avery has given us this year," Rivers said. "His growth this year has been terrific. He's become a very valuable piece to our basketball team."
Boston's emergence following the all-star break was in part fueled by Rivers' decision to have Bradley start in place of Ray Allen.
Although Bradley isn't nearly as good a scorer as Allen, his defensive skills provided the Celtics just what they needed to make the leap from being a team fighting to get into the playoffs, into one that eventually wound up as the Atlantic Division champion for the fifth straight season.