Bradley, Crawford making it work in backcourt

Bradley, Crawford making it work in backcourt
November 12, 2013, 12:30 am
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BOSTON — Jordan Crawford and Avery Bradley were part of the same 2010 draft class, chosen just eight spots apart (Bradley at No. 19, Crawford at No. 27) from each other.

Each has had a significantly different NBA experience, with Crawford now with his third team in three-plus seasons while Bradley has suited up for the Green and White only.

And yet here they are, two players with two significantly different games that somehow mesh in a way that no one understands why it works.

But it does.

And it is one of the main reasons why the Celtics are sharing the top spot in the Atlantic Division after Monday's 120-105 win over the Orlando Magic.

The victory improved Boston's record to 4-4 which is equal to Philadelphia for the best record in the Atlantic.

And while the contributors to Boston's success are many, there's no getting around the play of starting backcourt duo of Bradley and Crawford as being vital to Boston's resurgence from an 0-4 start.

"They're playing really well together," said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. "They're in a really nice rhythm right now and complement each other well."

Bradley had a game-high 24 points in Monday's win while shooting 10-for-15 from the field.

Crawford, who has been running the point since being inserted in the starting lineup four games ago, had 16 points and 10 assists without a single turnover.

As brilliant a passer as Rajon Rondo (out with a torn right ACL injury) has been, a double-digit game without a single turnover . . .

That's not happening, folks.

And with Crawford, whose reputation has been more about taking bad shots than giving his team a shot at success, a performance like Monday night's seemed just as unlikely.

But once again it was Crawford's playmaking skills that left many slack-jawed at his impressive court vision.

"Y'all just now noticing that, huh?" Crawford said. "I was blessed with court vision. When a teammate's open, you find him."

And when that teammate is Bradley and he's getting the same mid-range shot after another without the opponent adjusting, you just keep feeding it to him over and over and over again.

Bradley scored the bulk of his points off lightly contested mid-range jumpers that came about because of good picks.

"Once I started going, I was praying that the shot would keep falling for me and it did," said Bradley who admitted he was a little surprised that the Magic didn't make any adjustments in their defense on him.

Even if they did tweak their coverage on Bradley, chances were pretty good that Crawford would still manage to find ways to carve away at their defense.

And while many have been surprised by Crawford's playmaking skills, don't count Bradley among them.

"Jordan, other teams that he's been on, he's been a playmaker," Bradley said.

But not to the extent that we have seen this year in Boston.

"He's got a lot of confidence out there," Stevens said. "He's always been a guy that had good confidence about him, but I think the thing that I've been most pleased with though really the entire time I've been around him is his consistency."