Bradley (shoulders) thinks he could return ahead of schedule


Bradley (shoulders) thinks he could return ahead of schedule

ISTANBUL -- Avery Bradley still has no idea exactly when he'll be re-joining his Celtics teammates on the floor. But the progress he's making is undeniable, with the latest improvement being his ability to start shooting the ball -- something he said he had avoided prior to arriving in Turkey.

"I feel great," said Bradley, who is recovering from surgery on both shoulders and has not yet been cleared for contact.

"A lot of working, but I have to continue to get my shoulder stronger."

C's coach Doc Rivers said it'll be eight more weeks before he starts to concern himself with Bradley's return.

But Bradley is optimistic he'll be back sooner.

"I'm young and the healing process has been going well," Bradley said. "I've been listening to the doctors. So I definitely think I can be back early."

Bradley, who has yet to participate in a normal training camp either because of injuries or last year's lockout, has been patient throughout his recovery.

But now that he knows it is near, he acknowledges the waiting game is a lot tougher.

"Sitting on the sidelines watching my teammates . . . It's what I have to do," Bradley said. "It's a slow process. I gotta take my time, let my shoulder heal."

Bradley has said before that his left shoulder was initially in worse shape than the right one. But both, Bradley noted, are healing at about the same rate now.

The biggest issue for Bradley now is to strengthen both shoulders which would allow him to return to the floor and resume his role as an elite on-the-ball defender.

After having had to miss significant time due to injuries in two of his three NBA seasons, he's looking to put this particular injury bug behind him for good.

"When I come back, I know I'm going to be stronger so it doesn't happen again," said Bradley, who appeared in a team-high 64 regular season games last season. "I know if I rush myself, I'm not looking out for myself or for them."

Stars, studs and duds: Stevens shows confidence in Brown


Stars, studs and duds: Stevens shows confidence in Brown

Jaylen Brown made a costly turnover in the final minute that contributed to Boston’s 105-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls.

The fact that he was even in the game at that point speaks to not just his potential, but the level of confidence the rookie has already garnered from the Boston Celtics coaching staff.

Brown, who had nine points on 4-for-7 shooting on Thursday, turned the ball over with less than a minute to play and the Celtics trailing 101-99 at the time.

Moments after the turnover, Chicago’s Dwyane Wade drained a step-back 3-pointer that sealed the Bulls’ victory.

Disappointed with the game’s outcome, Brown acknowledged that it meant a lot to him for Stevens to have enough confidence in him to keep him on the floor down the stretch.

But with that faith comes added pressure for Brown to come through and deliver.

“It means I have to do better and try and execute for my team and earn everything I get,” Brown told reporters after the game. “I don’t want anything given to me just because I’m the number three pick in the draft.”

Stevens was asked about having Brown on the floor in the game’s closing seconds.

“He (Brown) was playing pretty well and I thought we were better off playing small,” Stevens said. “I wanted to keep Jaylen in there. I thought he did a lot of good things tonight.”

“Obviously that play didn’t go his way,” Stevens said.

On the play in question, Brown was matched up with Chicago’s Nikola Mirotic. Brown began to make a move, and eventually spun away from Mirotic and left his feet.

Brown was called for the turnover when he left his feet to make a pass, but didn’t release the ball until after he had landed – a traveling violation.

“I was looking for an outlet,” said Brown in explaining his late-game miscue. “I should have just shot the ball but I was thinking it was a bad shot. I probably should have just shot it. I just saw Mirotic on me, slower feet. Coach (Stevens) told me to drive him so I tried to be aggressive. I should have made a play.”

Brown added, “Just have to come out and execute, and play the game the right way. I want to make coach feel like he has a reason to put me out on the floor.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Thursday night’s game.



Dwyane Wade

The Chicago native gave his family and friends plenty to cheer about on Thursday. In his first game playing for his hometown Chicago Bulls, Wade had 22 points which included a back-breaking 3-pointer with 26 seconds to play that pretty much sealed the Bulls victory. Consider this: He made a total of seven 3-pointers all last season. He had four on Thursday.

Isaiah Thomas

For the second straight game, Thomas tallied 25 points and continued to shoot the ball extremely well. His 25 points on Thursday came on 10-for-15 shooting. He also had four assists and three rebounds.

Jimmy Butler

Butler was among the Chicago players who shot the ball much, much better from 3-point range than they usually do. He finished with a team-high 24 points which included him knocking down four of his six 3-point attempts.



Avery Bradley

Bradley provided a nice offensive complement to Thomas’ high scoring night, finishing with 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. Bradley also made his presence felt on the boards and as a distributor with six rebounds and five assists.

Nikola Mirotic

He may have lost out on a starting job to Taj Gibson, but Mirotic’s value to the Bulls is clear. Mirotic had 15 points off the bench, shooting 6-for-11 from the field in addition to nine rebounds.



Second-chance points

Boston’s only two games into the season, but second-chance points looks to be an issue with no clear-cut solution. For the second straight game, Boston was outscored by double digits in second-chance points. On Thursday, Chicago had an 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.