Celtics head into Philly full on confidence

755554.jpg

Celtics head into Philly full on confidence

PHILADELPHIA After two games, it's not that big of a stretch to say that the Boston Celtics could easily be down 2-0 in their best-of-seven series with Philadelphia.

For some teams, that reality could rattle a team's confidence.

And then there's the Celtics who'll come into the Sixers den, the series tied at 1-1, with the kind of confidence and swagger of James Bond 007.

But unlike Bond's drink of choice, the C's confidence is not shaken or stirred.

"I don't really worry about where we play," said Boston guard Ray Allen, who led the C's with 17 points in their 82-81 Game 2 loss. "It's just how we play and when we play them. Being in their building isn't going to affect us. It's all about how we play them when we get out there, how we take care (of the ball) and work together better than we did (in Game 2)."

The Celtics' confidence is an across-the-board thing, starting with the captain Paul Pierce.

When asked if he thought the C's could pull out a victory in Philadelphia, Pierce said, I never have doubts; you always think youre gonna win, but unfortunately we didnt (in Game 2).

Sixers coach Doug Collins has had many battles both as a player and as a coach against the Celtics.

Philadelphia took a game on the C's home floor and with it, home court advantage.

But taking the Celtics' confidence? Collins knows better.

"I don't see us denting their confidence," he said.

While being so sure of themselves has served them well in the past, there is a concern -- a legit one -- that the Celtics aren't taking this series as seriously as they should.

Even though the Sixers beat them two out of three games during the regular season, the necessary focus and attention to detail needed throughout the first two games hasn't been there.

In Boston's 92-91 Game 1 victory, the C's lethargic start forced them to rally from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to get the win. And in Game 2, it was almost a carbon copy of Game 1 minus the outcome.

So as the Celtics continue to straddle that thin line they've walked for years between being extremely confident and cocky, the Sixers' swagger is starting to grow as well.

And now that they have home court advantage, getting it back will be all the more tougher for Boston.

Monday's loss certainly provided a boost of confidence to the Sixers, but C's coach Doc Rivers believes the Celtics actually gave Philadelphia that in Game 1.

"I mean, we played a home game in Game One where we stole the game," Rivers said. "And, so, if you're the other team you have to have a little confidence coming in (to Game Two). That's what I was so happy with the start of Game Two, and then we let it go."

The C's opened the game with a 9-0 run, but soon saw its lead disappear and ultimately with it, a chance to take a commanding 2-0 series lead.

"Again I have to tell you all season long we couldn't win these games," Collins said following the Sixers win. "And now our guys are believing they can do it, and it is pretty special to watch."

Added Kevin Garnett: "They play with a lot of energy, they play together. They know who they are. Doug has those guys believing. They're a young team, and they're playing with a lot of confidence."

And only time will tell if that confidence is anything like the Celtics' -- not shaken or stirred.

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

WALTHAM, Mass. – The right Achilles’ strain that has kept Avery Bradley out of five of the Celtics’ past six games, will continue to keep the 6-foot-2 guard sidelined.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will not play Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
 
Stevens added that no additional tests have been taken and the Achilles’ itself is structurally fine.
 
“He’s got a lot of soreness around it, and that’s one of those things you have to be ultra-careful with,” said Stevens, who later added that Bradley would not practice with the team today. “When he [Bradley] came back, he said he felt a lot better, and then he played and the next day he practiced. We didn’t do anything live but he did a lot of cutting and did not feel near as good. That’s why he didn’t play Wednesday.”
 
The absence of Bradley was clearly felt in a 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, a game in which Knicks guard Derrick Rose – the man Bradley would have likely spent defending most of the game – scored 30 points.
 
This season, all-NBA first team defender is  the Celtics’ No. 2 scorer at 17 points per game along with averaging a team-best 6.9 rebounds.
 
In addition, Bradley is shooting a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range, as well as dishing out 2.4 assists per game, which also represents a career-high for the 26-year-old.


 

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

WALTHAM, Mass. – To dunk or not to dunk with the best in the NBA?
 
That is the question Celtics rookie forward Jaylen Brown is grappling with these days.
 
The 6-foot-7 Brown confirmed that he has been invited to be part of the league’s Slam Dunk competition at All-Star weekend, but hasn’t made up his mind as to whether he will participate.
 
Brown said he’ll likely make a decision about it sometime this weekend.
 
While he certainly understands that is indeed an honor for any player to be asked to participate in All-Star weekend, Brown said his trepidation about being part of the slam dunk competition has a lot to do with its potential impact on his body and how that may affect his ability to recharge over the weekend and get ready to finish out his rookie season strong.
 
If he decided to enter the contest, he would be facing some really stiff competition from last year’s winner Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, whose battle last season put their slam dunk competition among the best ever.
 
Facing tough competition is not something that concerns Brown.
 
“I’m not worried about anybody or anything,” Brown said. “I think I have a lot to offer. Just like your rookie year, your body and everything … it’s a lot. All those dunks, they look cool but it takes a toll on your body for sure. I want to put myself in the best position to help the team.”
 
While his focus has been on the Celtics, Brown acknowledged he has been getting a few tips on the competition from teammate Gerald Green, who is also a former Slam Dunk champion.
 
“[Gerald] Green has been coaching me up, giving me a lot of good ideas I wouldn’t have thought on my own,” Brown said. “If I do decide to do it, it’ll be some stuff [nobody] has seen before.”