Bradley finds offensive rhythm in win over Jazz

Bradley finds offensive rhythm in win over Jazz
February 26, 2013, 1:15 am
Share This Post

SALT LAKE CITY — The thought of Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley having a major impact on a game usually conjures up images of steals, deflections and contested shots.

Bradley stuck to that script on Monday as he brought all those talents to the table.

But he also delivered a much-needed offensive game on a night when the Celtics were desperate for someone - anyone - to inject some life early on in what was looking like a moribund offense that would have sputtered if not for his aggressive, attacking style.

While Paul Pierce was the hero with a slew of clutch buckets down the stretch in Boston's 110-107 overtime win against Utah, it was Bradley's early scoring success that kept the C's from getting blown out from the start.

Bradley finished with a season-high 18 points with all his points coming in the first three quarters of play. He also had five rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals as the Celtics (30-27) finish their five-game West coast trip going 2-3 as they head back East.

While the overall record during this trip wasn't to the C's liking, they do take some much-needed momentum back home having won two of their last three games.

And with that momentum, a number of Celtics players also have a bit more confidence in their game, too - players like Bradley.

Still coming into his own as a player, the 6-foot-2 guard is becoming more and more comfortable with his role in the Celtics ever-changing offense.

Monday's victory was an example of how Bradley could enjoy scoring success without forcing the action.

He made 8-of-12 shots from the field with all coming about as a function of what the Jazz were doing defensively.

"When you have an opportunity to shoot a wide open shot, you have to take it," he said. "Doc (Rivers) tells us that all the time. That's what I tried to do (Monday) night."

Monday's performance was yet another one in which Rivers came away feeling as though Bradley, regardless of the outcome, made his mark.

And while that's usually in the form of his defense, Rivers has maintained throughout Bradley's time with the Celtics that he is in fact a scoring threat whenever he's on the floor.

"To start the game, he gave us life with his scoring," Rivers said. "But his defense was such a big factor. It took them so long to get into their sets."

And while Bradley's all-around effort might come as a surprise to some, his teammates have seen the amount of time and effort he has put into improving as a player.

What fans see are the fruits of his labor.

"He gave us a dominant performance (Monday) night," said Boston's Jason Terry. "That's what I'm looking forward to the rest of the season and on into the playoffs.

Terry added, "It starts at the top. If he can come out and impose his will on opposing team's point guards and offensively knock down shots and be aggressive, we're going to have a chance to win a lot of those games."