Bradley to start vs. Wizards

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Bradley to start vs. Wizards

BOSTON We've seen how Avery Bradley has responded when given a chance to start in place of Rajon Rondo.

He's once again playing the role of fill-in starter, only now it will be in place of Ray Allen (ankle) who is expected to be out tonight against Washington as well as Monday's game at Charlotte. Boston will be without Mickael Pietrus (concussion) as well, with no indication as to when he will return to the lineup.

There are a series of tests players with a concussion have to take before they can return to the court, and Pietrus is yet healthy enough to take the tests.

Bradley, who helped the C's to a 6-2 record in Rondo's absence, is playing with a sore ankle as well.

"It's kind of bothering me a little now, but it's not taped up," Bradley told CSNNE.com. "But it'll feel better once I get it taped up. I'll be ready to go."

Bradley added, "I know my team needs me to play. We have some guys that are hurt. Right now, I feel I can play on it."

With Bradley to start, the C's will also look to rookie E'Twaun Moore to provide help in the backcourt. Marquis Daniels and Sasha Pavlovic, but they were never really considered options to start in place of Allen.

"(Jordan) Crawford's a quick, two-guard," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "So I don't think that's a hard decision."

"This is what me, E'Twaun (Moore), Sasha, all of us, live for," Bradley said. "We know we have to step up for our team. We all feel comfortable out there. We just need to do what we can do, and that's play good team basketball which I know we can do."

Having previous experience as a starter can only help, Bradley said.

"It definitely does," said Bradley, who at the time had not been told for sure that he was starting. "I'm sure Sasha (three starts this season) feels the same way. It makes you feel more comfortable out there, knowing what the usual starters want from you and what Doc (Rivers) wants from you. It definitely helps."

Marcus Smart will get start for Celtics for injured Isaiah Thomas

Marcus Smart will get start for Celtics for injured Isaiah Thomas

As expected, Marcus Smart will get the start for the Boston Celtics tonight against the Orlando Magic in place of the injured Isaiah Thomas. 

Thomas, who leads the Celtics (12-9) in scoring (26.0) and assists (6.2) this season, suffered a right groin injury in Boston’s 107-106 loss at Houston on Monday.

Head coach Brad Stevens explained his decision a few minutes ago.

“He’s started a lot of games here in the past as a point guard,” Stevens told reporters. “He’s basically our sixth starter. It wasn’t one that I had to think a ton about.”

Starting Smart also allows second-year guard Terry Rozier to continue in his role coming off the bench. 

Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, Smart’s production has been consistent. 

In the five games he has started this season, he has averaged 10.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. 

His numbers off the bench are almost identical with Smart averaging 9.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists as a reserve. 

Stevens also mentioned that Amir Johnson would be back in the starting lineup in place of Jonas Jerebko. Earlier in the day, Stevens told reporters the decision to start Jerebko on Monday was strictly because of the matchup with Houston. 

“We have to be able to be flexible in doing that,” Stevens said. “Houston plays four guards. We didn’t feel like we could defend them unless we switch one through four. I thought he (Jerebko) did a pretty good job. This (Orlando) team is different than Houston other than both are super-hot.”

Orlando (10-12) has won four of its last five games in part because of its size, strength and versatility along the frontline which includes Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo and Nikola Vucevic who now comes off the bench. 

And while the Celtics have benefited heavily from the play of their guards, obviously that plan will be amended tonight with Thomas out. 

“He (Thomas) generates a lot in the open offense what we call flow, spread offense,” Stevens said. “So some of those type of things you may not generate at the same rate. But certainly there are other ways that we’ll look to play when he’s not in the game normally, or when we’re trying to play through bigs in the post. You have different ways to play within all your schemes. Hopefully we can play to each other’s strengths and go from there.”