Bradley continues to improve

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Bradley continues to improve

BOSTON The Boston Celtics would love to have all their guys healthy and ready to play, especially point guard Rajon Rondo.

But if there has been a positive associated with his absence -- and we're not talking about their 6-2 record without him, either -- it has been the development of Avery Bradley.

The second-year guard continues to get better and better with more playing time, with the latest example of his steadily improving game being on display in Boston's 100-64 win over Toronto.

Bradley, who has started every game that Rondo has missed this season, finished with a season-high tying 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting.

The fact that he's becoming a more active participant in the C's offense is encouraging.

Celtics head coach Doc Rivers recognized that in some ways, teams were beginning to play off him akin to the way they do Rondo who has had his share of ups and downs shooting the ball, something Bradley can relate to.

Becoming a better cutter without the ball, Bradley said, has been a steady message Rivers has been delivering to the former first-round pick.

"That's one thing I focused on coming into the game, on the offensive end," Bradley said. "Cuts not only get me open, it gets my teammates open. I'm just getting better at cutting every single game."

Of Bradley's five made field goals, four were lay-ups.

And the fifth?

An eight-foot jumper.

While Bradley says he wants to be as good a cutter at the basket as Rondo, Rivers has another point guard in mind he would like Bradley to emulate when it comes to making cuts.

"I told Avery, 'he has to be (Denver Nuggets guard) Andre Miller,' who I think is the best cutter without the ball," Rivers said. "No one guards him, and he keeps scoring 15, 16 points a game. Teams keep doing what they're doing, and he back-cuts."

And now, so does Bradley.

"I just have to keep on improving, and learning every game," Bradley said.

Once Rondo is healthy enough to return, Rivers has reiterated that Rondo will be back to starting and that Bradley will return to coming off the bench where he will compete for playing time with rookie E'Twaun Moore.

And while no one questions the C's as being a better team with Rondo, at least now Rivers knows he can look elsewhere at that position, if needed.

"Well, it is a benefit," Rivers said. "I mean, the amount of games and listen, Rondo's healing and getting rest. The way he plays, it's only a benefit for us, You know, E'Twaun and Avery are gaining confidence, and that's good for them as well. So in every way it's a benefit."

Ainge: 'This offseason is bigger' than others for Celtics

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Ainge: 'This offseason is bigger' than others for Celtics

WALTHAM, Mass. – There was very little sizzle in the moves made by Boston during last season, one in which they were hoping would be a summer full of basketball fireworks.

Well the bar is once again set relatively high for the Celtics this offseason, one in which the chances of making an impact, fireworks-worthy deal appear to be even better now than they were a year ago.

The Celtics have Brooklyn’s first-round pick in next month’s draft that has a 15.6 percent chance of being the top overall selection, and will be no worse than the sixth overall pick.

That’s just the first of eight picks for the Celtics in next month’s draft.

Boston has the potential to shed enough salary to offer a pair of near-max contracts to free agents this summer.

“We look forward to every offseason,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations. “This offseason is bigger. My expectations are high this offseason. And yet I also know that it takes good fortune.”

There’s the NBA draft lottery later this month.

“We need some ping-pong balls to bounce our way, give us the best opportunity,” Ainge said.

The Celtics own Brooklyn’s first-round pick courtesy of the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade with Brooklyn in 2013. That pick will be no worse than the sixth overall selection this season but has a 15.6 percent chance of being the top overall selection.

“Whether we use that pick, trade that pick and … in free agency we have opportunities. That’s all we have,” Ainge said. “We have no guarantees of great things happening. We have a lot of hope. We have a lot of work ahead of us. We have to have Plan A through Z; usually it’s A through G.”

Tonight's lineups: Red Sox at White Sox

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Tonight's lineups: Red Sox at White Sox

The Red Sox face a left-hander -- Carlos Rondon, in this case -- for the second night in a row as they play the middle game of their three-night series in Chicago against the White Sox.

The lineups:

RED SOX:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Chris Young LF
Travis Shaw 3B
Christian Vazquez C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
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Clay Buchholz P

WHITE SOX:
Adam Eaton RF
Jimmy Rollins SS
Jose Abreu 1B
Todd Frazier 3B
Melky Cabrera LF
Brett Lawrie 2B
Jerry Sands DH
Dioner Navarro C
Austin Jackson CF
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Carlos Rondon P

Olynyk still mulling over options regarding shoulder

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Olynyk still mulling over options regarding shoulder

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Boston Celtics should know soon as to whether Kelly Olynyk will have surgery on his right shoulder which limited his effectiveness this past regular season and for most of the Boston’s postseason.

“Kelly is still deciding what to do with our medical staff, with the opinions he’s received,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operation. We should know in the next week or so. Surgery is an option; it is being discussed. But he’ll make that decision soon.”

The 7-foot Olynyk initially suffered a right shoulder injury on Feb. 10 against the Los Angeles Clippers in what was the last game before the all-star break.

Olynyk remained limited due to the injury which led to him missing 12 regular season games. He re-aggravated the injury in Game 1 of their first round series against the Atlanta Hawks.

In addition to the 12 regular season games missed due to the injury, Olynyk found himself on the bench for a pair of games during the Hawks series.

Prior to Game 6, Olynyk spoke with CSNNE.com about how much better he was feeling leading into that game compared to previous ones.

But that good vibe did not translate into on-the-court success as Olynyk was scoreless while missing both of his field goal attempts in just over five minutes.

This past season, Olynyk averaged 10 points and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 40.5 percent on 3s.  But during the six-game series with Atlanta, Olynyk scored just two points on 1-for-9 shooting.

Ainge was much more definitive on the health status of Avery Bradley (hamstring) and Jae Crowder (foot).

Bradley’s hamstring injury should be healed in plenty of time for the start of training camp and will not require any offseason surgery.

Crowder, whom Ainge said suffered from a bone bruise in his foot, should also be good to go for training camp next fall and like Bradley, will not require any offseason surgery.