Bradley's start comes in front of friends and family


Bradley's start comes in front of friends and family

DALLAS Avery Bradley isn't new to this.

Rajon Rondo will be out for the next two games serving a two-game suspension for throwing the ball at official Sean Wright in Boston's loss on Sunday in Detroit.

When Rondo's out, Bradley's in.

But tonight's game will be different.

This will be the first time Bradley will start in front of most of his family and friends who made the short trek from Arlington, Texas.

"It's always good to play in front of your friends and family," Bradley told "I'm going to take it like any other game and just come out and play hard."

Effort has not been an issue for Bradley, easily the Celtic's best on-the-ball defender.

That defensive presence has been instrumental in his eight starts for the C's, who sport a nice 6-2 record with him in the starting lineup.

Although the Celtics have proven they can win with Bradley filling in for Rondo on a temporary basis, he still has plenty of room to grow.

"Avery, he's still working on his jump-shot," said Celtics guard Ray Allen. "He can still knock it down, but athletically, he does change the dynamics of our defense."

And for a team that prides itself on being a defensive-minded bunch, that's what you want.

"I just want to do whatever the team needs me to do, for us to win," said Bradley, who was in the middle of reviewing the scouting report on the Mavericks. "Of course it would be nice to play well in front of family. But for me, I just want to win. Whether I play good or bad, as long as we get the win, I'm good."

Celtics-Bulls preview: C's quickly turn page to new-look Bulls


Celtics-Bulls preview: C's quickly turn page to new-look Bulls

BOSTON – Change is an inevitable when it comes to NBA rosters.

Just as the Boston Celtics significantly altered the outlook many had for them this season by signing Al Horford to a four-year, $113 million contract, they face a Chicago Bulls team tonight that has also undergone significant change.

The Bulls traded away one favorite son (Derrick Rose) and went about adding another in Dwyane Wade.

In addition to Wade, Chicago also signed former Celtic All-Star Rajon Rondo to join a team headlined by All-Star guard Jimmy Butler.

As easy as it could have been to worry about the struggles they had in disposing of the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, the Celtics knew they had to immediately turn the page and shift their focus towards a Chicago Bulls team that’s looking to start its season with a quality win over the Celtics.

“They’re a good team. They have great players over there,” said Jae Crowder. “They’re trying to figure it out. They’re going to be very excited to play of course. We have to take care of business, play the way we want to play and impose our will even more.”

One of the keys to knocking off the Bulls will be to get better play from their second unit.

Boston’s backups were outscored 58-40 but more significant than that was their inability to hold off the late-charging Nets which forced head coach Brad Stevens to bring his starters back on to the floor with about two minutes to play.

Among the reasons contributing to the bench’s ineffective play on Wednesday was the fact that Marcus Smart (left ankle sprain) was out.

Remember, Smart has been with the second unit for all of training camp minus the second half of their 121-96 preseason loss to the New York Knicks.

Crowder believes not having Smart, who will be out for another week or so, was indeed a factor in the second unit’s struggles.

“They trying to figure it out on the fly,” Crowder said. “With a few days of practice and probably one tough day of practice without him. It’s tough but they’re figuring it out. There’s no other way to figure it out but in a game. They’ll figure it out as soon as possible.”

Ortiz wins Hank Aaron Award as top hitter in American League


Ortiz wins Hank Aaron Award as top hitter in American League

CLEVELAND -- David Ortiz is heading into retirement with some more hardware.

The Boston Red Sox slugger captured the Hank Aaron Award on Wednesday as the top hitter in the American League this season. Budding Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant was honored as the top hitter in the National League.

The award was presented before Game 2 of the World Series between the Cubs and Cleveland. It was determined through a combination of fan voting and a panel that includes Aaron and other Hall of Fame players.

The 40-year-old Ortiz hit .315 with 38 home runs, 127 RBIs and 48 doubles in the 20th and final season of his major league career. His 541 career home runs rank 17th all-time.

The 24-year-old Bryant hit .292 with 39 home runs and 102 RBIs while helping the Cubs cruise to the NL Central title and eventually a spot in the World Series. Shortly after being honored, Bryant singled in the first inning for his first Series hit.