Bradley (shoulder) a game-time decision

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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."

Al Horford recalls offseason flirtation with Rockets

Al Horford recalls offseason flirtation with Rockets

Al Horford was destined to play in tonight’s game between Boston and Houston.
 
But for which team?
 
That was the question the four-time All-Star pondered this summer when he narrowed his list of suitors outside of Atlanta to Boston, Houston and Washington, in that order.
 
“I really considered coming here,” Horford told reporters on Monday. “But them and Boston and Washington. (Houston) and Boston were probably the two teams I was really, really looking at. Just a lot to consider.”

When you look at how seamless Horford has fit in with the Celtics and how well the Rockets (13-7) have played this season, you get the feeling that Horford would have found success individually and for whichever team he chose.
 
“At the end of the day, I just felt I was better off being here in Boston,” Horford said.
 
Rockets All-Star James Harden was among the party Houston sent to try and woo Horford to the Rockets.

“I thought we had a chance,” Harden said. “I thought we had a real good chance, but obviously it didn’t work out. Which is fine.”
 
Indeed, the Rockets have been one of the surprise teams of the NBA this season in large part to Harden moving to the point guard position full-time.
 
Not only is he once again ranked among the NBA’s top scorers at 28.3 points which ranks fourth in the NBA, but he’s also dishing out a league-high 11.8 assists per game.
 
“They made it pretty clear in the offseason that he was going to be the point guard,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters. “He’s got the ball all the time. He had the ball a lot before, but certainly now with their spacing and his ability to make the play himself or the right read to the big rolling or to the many good shooters around, it’s a perfect setup for him and his skillset.”
 
The ability to draw defenders and create space for those around him is one of the many reasons why the Rockets felt Horford would have been an ideal fit for their system.
 
But the same argument can be made for the Celtics who unlike the Rockets, at least attempt to play defense at a high level.
 
Boston began the season ranked among the worst defenses in the NBA, but are currently up to 18th with a defensive rating of 105.0. Meanwhile, the Rockets’ defense ranks 27th in the league with a 107.2 defensive rating.