Bradley impressed by fans' reaction to Antoine Walker


Bradley impressed by fans' reaction to Antoine Walker

BOSTON -- Avery Bradley watched as fans upon fans expressed their admiration for the former veteran NBA player.

In spite of what has happened since he left the league, they remembered the highlights of the years he spent on the Boston Celtics -- the playoff runs, the big games, and of course, the shimmies.

On Tuesday night Bradley was joined by Antoine Walker for an adidas Retro Real Deal autograph signing at Concepts in Cambridge. Bradley was taken aback by the overwhelmingly positive response Walker received from his fans.

"It was crazy to see how (they) reacted to him, the stories people were telling him, how nice he was," the Celtics guard told prior to their game against the Bulls. "One kid was like, 'You've been my favorite player since I was eight. I met you and you were so nice to me.' I know it was weird for him to see them come back to see him, for them to say how nice he was then, because everybody else could have just walked past him but they stopped . . . People still had his jerseys."

Bradley, 22, grew up watching Walker, now 36, and was in high school when Walker played his last NBA game. Years later, Bradley now sits in the same locker room the former forward occupied for eight seasons, a commonality he calls, "crazy."

"Of course (I followed his career,)" said Bradley. "He was a great player. He still is a great player. From all the stories I've heard from everybody, they say he's a great guy. Even from last night, I got to see it's true."

Since leaving the league, Walker's storyline has focused around his battles with bankruptcy and legal issues. Not on Tuesday, though. That night was about Walker reconnecting with the those who still appreciate what he brought to the court.

"It shows what kind of fans we (the Celtics) have, first of all," said Bradley. "And it shows what kind of person he was."

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics are about to hit one of the toughest stretches of the season and they’ll have to do it for at least one more game without their leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas. 
Thomas, who suffered a right groin injury on Monday against the Houston Rockets, did not play on Wednesday against Orlando and said that he will not play in Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors. 
“It’s day to day. I want to play. I want to be out there but it’s the smart decision to hold out and wait until it’s 100 percent,” Thomas said during a Season of Giving event for children of the Military Friends Foundation held at the Celtics’ practice facility. “If it was a playoff game I would be out there for sure.”
However, after consulting with a number of medical personnel, Thomas decided the best thing for him and the Celtics was to sit out Friday’s game which, along with Wednesday in Orlando, will be the first two he has missed since the 2014-2015 season. 
Thomas said there’s no specific timetable for his return, but he said he is planning to travel with the team to Oklahoma City for their matchup against the Thunder on Sunday. 
“It’s eating me a live to sit, but I have to do what’s best for my body, I have to do what’s best for this team,” Thomas said. “I need to be 100 percent healthy to give this team what I can give them.”
The Celtics are hoping for similar success they had Wednesday in Orlando (a 117-87 victory) on Friday against Toronto.
“They played a hell of a game last night,” Thomas said. “They’ll be ready tomorrow.”
The fact that Thomas intends to travel with the team is a good sign that the groin injury isn’t too serious. 
If he doesn’t play at Oklahoma City, that likely means he’ll return to action on Wednesday at San Antonio. 
“I’m going to do what I can to get back out there on the court,” Thomas said. “I gotta be smart about this. I don’t want this to linger on this season.”
Replacing Smart in the lineup against Toronto will most likely be Marcus Smart. 
Smart, who has been a replacement starter at small forward and point guard this season, had 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals against the Magic.