Bradley (shoulder) could be done for rest of postseason

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Bradley (shoulder) could be done for rest of postseason

PHILADELPHIA The Boston Celtics haven't totally ruled Avery Bradley out from returning at some point in the playoffs.

But as of now, the likelihood of him returning to the Celtics lineup is slim, at best.

A Boston Globe report indicated that Bradley runs the risk of doing further damage to the shoulder by playing, and that could potentially result in him needing surgery and up to a year to fully recover.

Bradley indicated Wednesday morning that the shoulder injuries that have sidelined him the past two games - that includes Wednesday's 82-75 Game Six loss to Philadelphia - are not showing significant improvement.

"It's definitely frustrating," Bradley said. "All I can do is keep trying to get stronger, keep improving for my team. That's all I'm gonna do."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said earlier that both Bradley and Ray Allen (ankle) have the kind of injuries that even with added rest, it won't be enough for them to make significant progress to get past their injuries.

"Ray and Avery, they're just not going to get better," Rivers said. "The rest makes no difference. It's going to come down to day-to-day, if they feel better or not."

Without Bradley, the Celtics take a major blow defensively.

There were countless plays in the Celtics' Game Six loss where the absence of Bradley on the floor, was obvious.

Knowing that there's a very good chance that he won't be back for the playoffs, puts the C's in a precarious position even if they were to win Game 7 on Saturday.

A victory would move the Celtics on to the Conference finals against either Indiana or Miami, two teams that have athletic, high-impact wing players that without Bradley, will make a tough matchup even more difficult.

Rivers maintains the team's "no excuses" mantra, even when he acknowledges how not having a player like Bradley available can impact the C's.

"It's what we have," Rivers said. "Clearly, Avery's a great defender. Their (Philadelphia) penetrations, their isolations without Avery on the floor, they clearly went to a lot of iso's, they were picking who they wanted. That's what I would do. You can't blame them for doing it."

Without Bradley, the Celtics have to revert back to some of the defensive approaches they had prior to inserting him in the starting lineup.

"We have to do a better job of covering for guys who may not be able to keep some of those in front of us," Rivers said. "I don't think we covered for each other very well. Having said that, they scored eighty-two points and that's not a lot."

True, but it's probably more than the Sixers would have scored had Bradley been healthy enough to play.

But there's no time for Boston to worry about that now, not with a decisive Game 7 on Saturday against a Philadelphia team that's coming into it with more confidence than they've had at any point in this series.

"Our mindset is 'let's see what we can do,'' Collins said. "Let's see if we can go get us a win."

Something that will be easier to come by for Philadelphia, knowing that this defenisve-minded Celtics squad, will be minus Bradley who has been one of their top defenders.

Celtics' team plane receives bomb threat

Celtics' team plane receives bomb threat

BOSTON -- There was a bomb threat to the Boston Celtics’ team plane to Oklahoma City on Saturday afternoon, but no one was injured.

The incident will be investigated by NBA security which will work in conjunction with the FBI on this matter which was one of several hoaxes called into airports across the country on Saturday.

News of the bomb threat was first known when Celtics forward Jae Crowder posted an Instagram photo showing players departing the plane with the caption, “BOMB THREAT ON US”.

Celtics officials declined to comment on the matter and instead referred all bomb threat-related questions to the league office.

Messages to the league office were not immediately returned.

Celtics' ball movement among NBA's best, with or without Thomas

Celtics' ball movement among NBA's best, with or without Thomas

BOSTON – When it comes to winning basketball, keep it moving – the ball that is – has become a staple of the Celtics this season. 
 
And lately they’ve had to do it without Isaiah Thomas, the team’s leading scorer at 26 points per game as well as their top assists guy (6.2) who will miss hish third game in a row Sunday in Oklahoma City because of a right groin injury.
 
The Celtics have split their first two games without Thomas, with the most recent being a 101-94 home loss to Toronto on Friday.
 
When it comes to this team and ball movement, fans are just as divided when it pertains to whether the Celtics move the ball better without the high-scoring Thomas in the lineup. 
 
Regardless of what fans think they know about this team and how they move the ball, the numbers paint a very clear picture that this team’s ball movement is among the best in the NBA, with or without Thomas in the lineup. 

And that will be important on Sunday against an Oklahoma City team that doesn’t rely on the ball swinging from one side of the floor to the other, nearly as much as the Celtics. 
 
The Thunder, led by MVP candidate Russell Westbrook, are dead-last in the NBA when it comes to passes made per game (267.1). 
 
Meanwhile, the Celtics are at the opposite end of the passing game spectrum, averaging 331.7 passes per game, which is second in the NBA (Philadelphia, 354.3).
 
And in the two games without Thomas, Boston has averaged 347.0 passes per game, which ranks second in the NBA in that period of time. 
 
In addition to missing his points and assists, the Celtics must also find ways to make plays in filling the void left by a player who has the ball in his hands a lot of the time. 
 
Thomas’ usage percentage (percentage of plays used by a player while he’s on the floor) of 32.9 percent ranks seventh in the NBA, ahead of notable stars such as San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard (30.9 percent), Portland’s Damian Lillard (30.8 percent), New York’s Carmelo Anthony (29.5 percent), as well as Cleveland’s LeBron James (29 percent) and Golden State’s back-to-back NBA MVP Stephen Curry (28.2 percent).
 
So, considering how involved Thomas has been in the team’s offense, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the numbers in terms of passing and ball movement are better without him than they are when he’s on the floor playing. 
 
What should be surprising is that the gap statistically without him, isn’t greater. 
 
Boston has been a top five team when it comes to assists this season, currently third in the league with 24.7 assists per game. In the past two games without Thomas, the Celtics’ assists numbers have risen to 26.5 per game, but that only ranks fifth in the league in that span.
 
When it comes to potential assists and secondary assists (a.k.a. the “hockey” assist), Boston’s numbers have improved slightly without Thomas as well, but in each category Boston is ranked second in the league. 
 
And that ranking is with, and without Thomas in the lineup. 
 
While it’s not clear if Thomas knows just how close the numbers in terms of ball movement are with and without him playing, he is acutely aware that there are some who believe they are a better team in terms of keeping the ball moving without him.
 
“I can’t control that,” Thomas told reporters on Friday. “At this point, I laugh about it. I know what I mean to my teammates. I know what I mean to this organization, to Brad Stevens.”