Bradley (shoulder) a game-time decision

748105.jpg

Bradley (shoulder) a game-time decision

WALTHAM Avery Bradley was among the 15 players at the Celtics' morning shoot-around on Monday.

But how much he participated, if at all, is very uncertain. So is his status for tonight's Game 5 matchup against Philadelphia.

C's coach Doc Rivers held Bradley (left shoulder) out of the team's practice on Sunday, and isn't expected to make a decision on whether the 6-foot-2 defensive specialist will play until shortly before tonight's tip-off.

Bradley's left shoulder came out of the socket in Boston's Game 4 loss, but almost immediately popped back into place, which is the third or fourth time that has happened in recent months.

Despite playing with the left shoulder injury most of this season, Bradley has only missed two games.

His presence goes far beyond statistical measurements.

In little-to-no time, Bradley has evolved into the team's top perimeter, on-the-ball defender. Despite being 6-2, he has shown the versatility to defend players presumably smaller and faster, as well as those with more size and length.

"Defensively, he's been very effective," Rivers said. "But offensively, he's been on and off. They (Philadelphia) are absolutely making him score; they're sagging the paint. They understand what's going on with his shoulder, too."

Even with the pain that to some degree has been a problem all season, Bradley has managed to deal with it well enough to where he can still be a key player in the Celtics defense.

"Listen, it's a tough thing he's going through," Rivers said on Sunday. "A lot of players would not be playing. It's his first playoff, and he's dealing with stuff . . . it's tough. I swear, a lot of people would not be playing. The only reason he is, is because he wants to."

However Rivers is concerned that Bradley's desire to compete, as strong as it might be, still might not be enough to keep him from having to miss a game at some point in the postseason -- possibly tonight.

"I am concerned at some point that he may not be able to (play) anymore," Rivers said. "We don't know what game that is. We don't know what day he can finish it, and we can keep going and play. Maybe (Game 5) may be his last game. You really don't know."

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics surge at end of second quarter

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics surge at end of second quarter

BOSTON –  For the second time in as many games, the Boston Celtics were hosting a team eager to get off a losing skid.

But a strong surge near the end of the second quarter gave the Celtics a 65-56 halftime lead over Portland which came into the night having lost four straight.

Boston opened with a 12-4 run capped off by a 3-pointer by Jae Crowder – his second within the game’s first couple minutes.

But the Blazers were being carried by C.J. McCollum, half of the most explosive backcourt in the NBA. His 12 first-quarter points were crucial to keeping the Blazers within 28-26 at the end of the quarter.

McCollum continued to out-perform everyone else on the floor, even Isaiah Thomas who had a quieter than usual first half.

But the 5-foot-9 Thomas continued to make all the plays needed to put the Celtics back on top courtesy of a 12-3 run that put them ahead 57-49 with 1:55 to play in the half.

From there, Boston was able to maintain control of the game.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Saturday’s game.

 

STARS

C.J. McCollum

While there’s still talk about whether Damian Lillard will be an All-Star this year, McCollum has played well enough to where he’s at least worthy of a mention in the All-Star conversation. He certainly carried Portland in the first half with 26 points on 8-for-12 shooting.

Isaiah Thomas

As usual, Thomas drew a considerable amount of attention from the opposing defense. And slowly but surely, he found cracks that he could exploit. At the half, he had 17 points, four assists and three rebounds, one of which was an offensive board that he put-back in for a lay-up.

 

STUDS

Jae Crowder

He put the Celtics on a good path from the outset, knocking down a couple 3’s in the first couple of minutes. He finished the half with 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting which included a trio of 3-pointers.

Meyers Leonard

He was 3-for-4 in the first half which included a pair of powerful dunks over Boston’s Jordan Mickey. At the half he had eight points and two rebounds.

 

DUDS

Damian Lillard

It was a rough half for the two-time All-Star, tallying just three points on 1-for-5 shooting. A big part of his problem? Foul trouble. He played just 10 minutes in the first half due in large part to having three personal fouls.