Celtics' roster shuffle yields familiar result


Celtics' roster shuffle yields familiar result

BOSTON Well before the Boston Celtics were struggling, head coach Doc Rivers was giving some thought to putting Brandon Bass in the starting lineup ahead of Jermaine O'Neal.

"I've been thinking about it since camp," Rivers said.

Rivers trotted out his new lineup on Friday, and the result was an all too familiar loss as the Chicago Bulls held on for an 88-79 win.

The C's (4-6) have now lost three in a row, and they're off to the worst 10-game start to the season since 2006 - the year before the Big Three joined forces.

"We're still young in the season," said Boston's Ray Allen. "We know what's in us, and we know what this team is capable of. The adversity has struck us early, but we're all in."

Part of being "all in" involves adapting to changes that Rivers believes will help the C's moving forward.

One of those changes was on full display Friday night as Bass made his first start with the Green team.

He had 10 points and nine rebounds while playing just under 33 minutes.

Rivers hasn't decided on whether he'll keep Bass in the starting lineup Saturday against Indiana, but did say that it's a lineup that you'll see "70 percent" of the time.

"There will be nights where I think size will be a factor," said Rivers, who added that Saturday's game against the Pacers is one of those games. "I'm not sure which way we'll go. I just sat JO and Brandon down and I said, 'you two will be our starters.' And that there will be nights when one starts, and there will be nights when the other starts."

Bass' play certainly is a major factor in Rivers' decision to play him at times with the first unit.

But as Rivers points out, it also gives the Celtics more depth in the middle.

"I thought it gave us more versatility and I thought our rotations were easier when you bring Jermaine in for Kevin (Garnett) you stay big," Rivers said. "And what I'm trying to do is always have Jermaine or Kevin - just size on the floor more."

Garnett recognizes, understands and appreciates Rivers' willingness to do whatever he has to do in order to get the C's on track this season.

"Doc's going to play with different lineups, do what he feels is best for the team," Garnett said. "And we're going to support whatever that is. Anybody that's going to be part of that transition, will understand what it is. We're all in here, trying to figure this thing out together.

Garnett added, "these are dog days; these are the days where you're going to really see who is with you, who is fair-weather, but we're going to continue to work. Whatever Doc feels is best for the team, we're going to support either way."

Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley


Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley

BOSTON – Another year, another season in which Avery Bradley plans to showcase a new and improved skill that will benefit the Boston Celtics.
But with each improved skill, Bradley moves just that much closer to being an all-around, two-way talent that creates problems for teams at both ends of the floor.
We all know about Bradley’s defense, which was good enough to land him a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive first team last season. He also gets props for steadily improving his game offensively in some area every summer, but defenses might have their hands full more than ever with Bradley.
According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, the 6-foot-2 Bradley was the only guard in the NBA last season to shoot better than 70 percent in the restricted area among players who took a minimum of 200 field goal attempts.
He is among a list that includes Los Angeles Clippers big men DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin; Miami’s Hassan Whiteside; current teammate and former Atlanta Hawk Al Horford; San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge; Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Atlanta big man Dwight Howard.
But if you’re thinking about keeping him away from that part of the floor, Bradley also made the 3-point shot a bigger part of his offensive game last season; as in, 40 percent of his shots came from beyond the 3-point line.

Having that kind of diversity makes him a difficult player to get a clear read on how to defend. And because of that, it may open things up even more so for his teammates.
Bradley can shoot from the perimeter; he can score close to the rim. His ball-handling skills have improved in the offseason to where it no longer looks as though it’s a major weakness.
And he defends at a level few players in the league can match.
Collectively it makes Bradley one of the many challenges awaiting teams whenever they face the Celtics, a player who is poised to showcase his diverse set of skills beginning tonight against the Brooklyn Nets. 

Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats


Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats

FOXBORO -- When Dion Lewis wasn't spotted at Wednesday's practice, we had to make it clear when we mentioned his absence: He had only, as far as we knew, missed the start of practice. Though unlikely, there's always the chance a player emerges from the locker room once practice has started and goes through the remaining periods of the workout. 

Now that we have the injury report for Wednesday, we know that wasn't the case for Lewis. He did not show up on the report as a limited participant, meaning he didn't participate at all. 

There were no surprises on Wednesday's injury report, with nine players listed as limited, including tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle), linebacker Jamie Collins (hip) and receiver Julian Edelman (foot).

For the Bills, running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring) did not participate. Bills coach Rex Ryan explained on Wednesday that McCoy aggravated his hamstring injury against the Dolphins on Sunday, but he did not rule him out for the Patriots game this coming weekend.

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


LB Lorenzo Alexander (non-injury related)
LB Zach Brown (illness)
DT Corbin Bryan (shoulder)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
TE Cordy Glenn (ankle)
WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion)
RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring)
LB Lerentee McCray (knee)
DT Adolphus Washington (illness)
S Aaron Williams (neck)

DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring)
RB Mike Gillislee (foot)
T Seantreal Henderson (back)
LB Jerry Hughes (hand)
G John Miller (shoulder)
WR Robert Woods (foot)