Big matchup For Bradley

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Big matchup For Bradley

I don't know how Avery Bradley spent his All Star Weekend. Maybe he stayed back in Boston, or vacationed in the Tropics. Maybe he went home to Seattle, or passed the time running at full speed on a hamster wheel. I don't know. But whatever he did, I hope he's ready for tonight's match-up with the Nuggets.

You remember the last time Boston and Denver faced off. It was that classic triple overtime game on the Sunday after the blizzard. You remember the heroics of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and the C's shocking the world for their seventh straight post-Rajon Rondo victory.

But you might not remember that over the course of that amazing win, Bradley the C's lock down perimeter defender was abused like we've never seen before (or since) by Denver's Ty Lawson.

Lawson finished with 29 points, nine assists and six rebounds. He also beat Bradley for a last second, game-tying hoop in regulation, and hit a shot with 18 seconds left in the second OT to put the Nuggets up three (before Pierce's own last second magic).

Naturally, it didn't help that Bradley was in foul trouble for most of the game (before fouling out in the second overtime), but that just comes with the territory. And that had a lot to do with Lawson, against whom Avery picked up three of his six fouls.

The Nuggets took the floor that snowy night having won nine straight and 15 of their last 17 games. Oddly enough, they haven't won since responding to that loss in Boston by coming up short in Toronto and Brooklyn before breaking for the break. However, those losses had nothing to with Lawson.

He followed up his 29-point performance against the Celtics with another 29 against the Raptors and 26 against the Nets. He also had nine assists in all three games, and shot a combined 35-53 from the field (that's 63 percent) and 9-14 from three (that's 64 percent!). Bottom line: Lawson has quickly developed into not only the Nuggets floor general but their most explosive and reliable scorer. That may say as much about the inconsistencies of Andre Iguodala. That may also not give enough credit to Danilo Gallinari (who's averaging 21.2 points in 2013). But no matter how you look at it, Ty Lawson is the head of this Denver attack, and in the famous words of David Ortiz: If the head is right, the body is going to function right. If the head is messed up, then the body is going to be all over the place."

Avery Bradley is the Celtics resident head hunter. Lawson who possesses a deadly combination of speed, strength, range and determination around the rim is and will continue to be one of Integer 0's toughest assignments. And tonight, Bradley's success will have a lot to say about on which foot the Celtics will start the second half, and no doubt set the tone for tomorrow night's rematch against the Lakers.

Should be fun.
Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

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.


 

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

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.”