Doc: Likely just one spot open for final five

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Doc: Likely just one spot open for final five

WALTHAM The experimentation for who will be in the Boston Celtics starting lineup will continue on for a little while longer.
But as far as who will close out most games, C's coach Doc Rivers has a pretty good feel for his final five.
"What you want to do is have the right five at the right time," Rivers said following Thursday's practice. "And it's really the right two (players), that's what it comes down to."
Barring injuries or someone having a career-type night, look for Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to be on the floor during crunch time on most nights.
And after giving his end-of-game lineup a few more seconds of thought, Rivers conceded that there will likely be just one open slot.
So while it may seem Rivers has his hands full with trying to find the right player combinations, he concedes that, "it's not as difficult as you think" when it comes to deciding who will close out games.
In addition to Rondo, Pierce and Garnett, Rivers said Jeff Green will likely be on the floor in the game's final moments as well.
"It's a lot of options," Rivers said.
Among those options will be Jason Terry, who has made his mark in the NBA as a valuable sixth man. But if needed, he has proven he can be a solid contributor as a starter, too.
While playing with the first unit, the 13-year veteran has career averages of 17.3 points and 5.4 assists per game. Coming off the bench, he still delivers a respectable 14.3 points and 3.4 assists.
Terry's approach to the game doesn't change whether he's starting or coming off the bench.
"It's all about having confidence in yourself and knowing your skill set," he said. "I'm able to come off the bench and do what I do because I'm always ready. I'm always ready to score the ball and make an impact on the ball game. As a starter, I was a starter for four years in Atlanta and three in Dallas. So either way it go for me, it doesn't matter. When the lights are on, when the crowd is cheering or when they are going against us, it's when I'm at my best. So it doesn't matter, as long as it's game time."

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.