WALTHAM When the Boston Celtics drafted Avery Bradley, he was billed as an athletic combo guard who could score.
But little did anyone know at the time that Bradley's best means of generating points for the C's wouldn't be with him knocking down jumpers, or by beating defenders off the dribble lay-ups.
It would be lay-ups, courtesy of some really crisp cutting to the basket.
Yes, it's such a very basic play. But it has become a bread-and-butter bucket-maker for the Celtics, who hope to continue that trend tonight against the San Antonio Spurs.
The C's have spent a good chunk of this season teaching the 6-foot-2 guard how to cut to the basket effectively within their system.
Teaching him how to do it, is no longer needed.
"He's not learning anymore," Rivers said. "He knows how. He had the instinct and didn't know it. And now he's doing it. Now, he's just doing it on his own instincts. It's all him now."
And it could not have come at a better time, with Bradley seeing an increased role with the Celtics due to Ray Allen's right ankle injury.
In Bradley's first stint as a fill-in starter, he replaced Rajon Rondo who was out for eight games with a wrist injury.
Part of Bradley's responsibilities then included initiating the offense, which to a large degree made it difficult for him to be an effective scorer cutting to the basket.
Plus, at the time, Bradley wasn't nearly as comfortable doing it as he is now.
"I'm just trying to keep working hard and doing whatever I can to help my team win games," Bradley told CSNNE.com. "If that's playing good defense, scoring, whatever it is, I'm willing to do. As far as scoring, my teammates are doing a great job of finding me."
Bradley has had a number of solid games scoring, but none compare to the career-high 23 points he scored in Boston's win over Washington on March 25.
As you watched Bradley score at will against the woeful Wizards, it all seemed to come so easy for him.
He'd run from one sideline to the other, and when Rajon Rondo or Paul Pierce penetrated the lane, he'd find an avenue to fill, they would pass him the ball . . . lay-up.
Over. And over. And over again.
Everyone seemed impressed by Bradley's ability to score except Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman, who was not all that impressed with Bradley's career night scoring.
"I could have scored those lay-ups," Wittman said at the time. "I am being serious. We didn't have anybody guarding him. He ought to send us a postcard of thank-yous or something for allowing him to score."
While Bradley will likely go back to the bench with Allen expected to start tonight, you can expect him to continue to find ways to make an impact, one cut at a time.
"It's like something has been freed up in him," Rivers said. "He sees it now. He reads it, and he's fantastic at it now."