Celtics set for their overseas adventure

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Celtics set for their overseas adventure

WALTHAM Their bags are packed, the Celtics are ready to take their show . . . overseas.

No, David Stern hasn't created an NBA team in Europe yet. The C's will leave their practice facility Monday evening and hop on their plane where they'll start a seven-day European training camp taking them through Istanbul and Milan, which includes two preseason games.

It's not the first time the C's organization has gone overseas. They went to Rome prior to their 2007-08 season, and the bond created on that trip played a big hand in their winning a championship that season.

If they take home another championship this season, well, European camps may just become required.

But Boston knows that winning a championship takes far more work than going on a field trip. The goal of the trip is to come together, and go from there.

Obviously we want to work on team chemistry," Kevin Garnett said. "Obviously we want to get better every time we step on the floor. From a basketball standpoint obviously were still getting to know each other. But its bigger than that. I think the trip to Turkey will be more social. The trip to Milan will be more for the chemistry."

When The C's traded for Garnett and Ray Allen five seasons ago, Doc Rivers needed to get his team out of the fray. They had just become the hottest thing in sports. There's less hype this time around, and Rivers isn't as high on this upcoming trip (breaking up camp to travel isn't what he wanted) but with a lot of new faces, a little team-building certainly won't hurt.

"We scheduled the Rome trip in response to all the moves we made," Rivers said. "We really wanted that trip to happen. I don't know if this one I could say I wanted it, but it's something now with all the moves I'm looking forward to it."

And you can bet the players are especially the young guys. Last year at this time, Fab Melo was in class (OK, maybe not) at Syracuse. Now, he's experiencing everything that comes with being an NBA player. Doc Rivers had bit of advice to the young guys.

"Just make sure they carry all their luggage," he joked. "Other than that, I think it's great for them because it gives them a little bit of a taste of what a long road trip would be even though we only play two games. I think everything for them is new, and this will give them when we do finally go on the road for real I think this will be a pretty good lesson for them."

But touching down in Istanbul is a lot different than touching down in any American city. Being in a foreign country far away from friends and family the team will be inclined to talk more off the court. That's one thing Rivers remembers from the last trip.

"The craziest thing is that their cellphones didn't work so they actually had to talk to each other on the bus," Rivers said. "I thought that was nice, in this new cell phone whatever generation this is. And that will be the same because of the cost of calls."

But what about when they're not on the bus or at practice? There's got to be sights to see and plenty to do. Rajon Rondo missed Fashion Week in Milan by about a week, but he said he had other things to look forward to.

"A lot of shopping," Rondo joked. "Oh, as far as a team. Well, this is a regular training camp except we'll be out of the country. We want to continue our focus as far as getting better, get better each day, work on our sets, become as good of a team we can in possibly seven days."

Bradley locked in during return to Celtics lineup vs. Hornets

Bradley locked in during return to Celtics lineup vs. Hornets

BOSTON – When you look at Avery Bradley’s growth this season, seeing the tremendous strides he has made offensively is clear.

But at the heart of Bradley’s game remains a desire to dominate a matchup as a defender, something that was alive and well on Monday as he made his return to the floor after missing the four previous games with an Achilles strain.

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Bradley’s defense would prove instrumental in Boston’s 108-98 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday.

He was 2-for-9 from the field and played nearly 33 minutes against Hornets which is just a couple minutes under his season average of court time.

Usually he’s responsible for providing a boost at both ends of the floor.

But considering his long lay-off, it was clear early on that he was locked in defensively more so than looking to get back on track shooting the ball.

“You take any type of games off in this league, your rhythm and all that you gotta get it back,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder.

Even though his shots weren’t falling, Bradley was on top of his game defensively while guarding 6-foot-8 Nicolas Batum who is six inches taller but never was a factor on Monday.

Batum finished with eight points on 2-for-11 shooting from the field.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens liked what he got out of Bradley in his return to action.

“I thought he (Bradley) was great,” Stevens told CSNNE.com. “He did everything we needed him to do. We knew there would be a little bit of rust (shooting the ball), but that’s part of you playing your way back into it.”

As far as Bradley’s stifling defense on Batum, Stevens said, “You have to do that against Batum. I thought Avery did a really good job of that. It’s a hard matchup no matter what way you go. Batum, giving up inches to him. He (Bradley) was there on the catch all night.”

And as Bradley gradually gets back into a flow, he’ll regain the form offensively that made him one of the NBA’s better two-way players this season.