Backcourt stepping in for Rondo

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Backcourt stepping in for Rondo

BOSTON -- The Celtics lost a court vision mastermind when Rajon Rondo suffered a season-ending ACL injury.

They were forced to find a way to fill his absence in the backcourt. They could not replace him -- players like Rondo are unique -- but the remaining backcourt players would have to step up and contribute in their own ways.

On Friday, game number three without Rondo, the guard trio of Courtney Lee, Jason Terry, and Leandro Barbosa combined for 38 points in the Celtics 97-84 win over the Orlando Magic.

"We were able to get some stops at times, and that's the most important thing," said Lee. "Once you get stops, you are able to get out and run, and that's what led to us getting out and running and getting easy layups."

Lee has moved into the starting role since Rondo's injury. He played nearly 40 minutes on Friday, scoring 14 points off of 6-for-13 shooting.

Hes doing great," said Doc Rivers. "Im asking a lot of him.He started the game bringing the ball up at point, then hes guarding JJ Redick, and then at one point he was at the three. Honestly, everyone on our teams going to have to do that every night.

Terry, who struggled with consistency, hit a stride (12 points, 4-8 FG, 28 minutes), and Barbosa thrived in increased minutes (12 points, 6-11 FG, 27 minutes).

"We kind of let them play," said Rivers. "I called the one timeout and they kept asking, What are we running? I said, I have no idea. Just go out and space the floor and play, and play through it.' I think Jason loves to play that way, I think LB clearly likes to play that way, and they just read each other extremely well.We try to keep them on the floor at the same time.

Starting guard Avery Bradley had his praise for his counterparts, who allow him to stay focused on defense where he is most valuable to the Celtics.

"They were aggressive," Bradley said. "They played great tonight. It's hard to beat a team that's as deep as us."

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

BOSTON – Wednesday’s 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks was the fifth time in the last six games that Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley was out because of a right Achilles injury.

Well, it appears the 6-foot-2 guard may miss a few more with this injury.

“I can see him missing a little more time,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said following Wednesday’s loss. “I just think maybe he came back a little bit too early, whatever the case may be.”

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Bradley was expected to play against the Knicks, but was a last-minute scratch.

Celtics big man Al Horford said he didn’t find out Bradley was out until the team was on the floor doing pre-game warmups and he didn’t see him.

“He was really sore,” Stevens said of Bradley. “Went through our walk-through and then came on to the court and did some stuff and was more sore today than he has been. I think he did treatment the whole game.”

This latest setback for Bradley is part of a growing narrative that has dogged him throughout his career which has included him missing games to injury in each of his six-plus NBA seasons.

Bradley came into this season once again hoping to be as injury-free as possible, only to see that dream dashed with this right Achilles strain he's suffering with currently.

Still, there’s no downplaying the significance and value the Celtics have in the 26-year-old. This season, he is second on the Celtics in scoring at 17.7 points per game and leads them in rebounds with 6.9 per game with both being career highs. In addition, he averages just under 35 minutes per game which is also tops on the team.

Marcus Smart has been Stevens’ choice to replace Bradley in the starting lineup when Bradley has been unavailable, and that’s not likely to change between now and Saturday’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers.