Fast starts not panning out in C's-Sixers series


Fast starts not panning out in C's-Sixers series

WALTHAM You never want to spot any team points, especially in a playoff game.

But if you're the Boston Celtics and you just so happen to find yourself on the short end of a start-of-the-game run by Philadelphia, that might not necessarily be a bad thing.

Each of the first four games in this series began with the eventual loser on a 5-0 spurt or better.

If anything, it serves as yet another reminder that fast starts may not necessarily prove fruitful in achieving the only thing either team truly wants -- a victory.

"That's just what it is," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "A 9-0 lead in the first quarter, that's nothing; it really isn't. Having a bigger lead in the third quarter the way we had (in Game 4), is better. But the early lead you got a whole game to play still. When I'm watching games, people make so much, too much of a big deal about that stuff."

Such early deficits seem to provide the necessary focus for teams on the short end of it to re-group, recover and from there, surge ahead to eventually take control of the game.

It also speaks to how the Celtics, whether it's the first quarter or fourth, have shown a propensity to ease up when they jump out to a big lead.

"A little bit of it is human nature," said Celtics guard Ray Allen. "When you go up like that, you become complacent. It's just human nature. I hate it for us, to be that way."

It's the kind of thing that doesn't necessarily creep up on you, either.

Allen recalled a couple of empty possessions in Game 4.

"We took the easiest shot available as opposed to working our offense," he said. "they went down, got call after call, got to the free throw line, scored without the clock moving. Now the momentum was on their side."

And so went the game. If Game 5 goes along with the pattern in the first four, the Celtics will get down early and rally back for the win.

"You can't depend on that being a pattern," said Celtics forward Paul Pierce. "We just have to be consistent at what we do; use our home crowd to our advantage. We lost our last game at home. We gotta play better at home this time around."

But if they get behind early, not to worry.

The C's have seen that before in this series.

And the ending -- a Celtics victory -- would make the early struggles more than worth it.

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.”