Is this the final run for the C's Big Four?

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Is this the final run for the C's Big Four?

BOSTON For the most die-hard Boston Celtics fan, the thought seems real but inconceivable at the same time.

When the Celtics take to the floor tonight in Game 7 of their second round playoff series against Philadelphia, it could very well be the last time the Big Four - Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo - play together.

Garnett and Allen will become unrestricted free agents this summer, and are sure to draw considerable attention from teams besides the Celtics. There's no telling if Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge will look to potential trades involving Pierce or Rondo in his efforts to bolster the C's roster.

It adds another dimension of uncertainty heading into a game that would not be happening if the C's played with the kind of consistency one expects from a veteran team whose core players have won a championship, facing a team as young and inexperienced as the Sixers who are getting their postseason baptism by fire.

Allen, who has been on the trading block more than any other member of the Big Four, is well aware that tonight's game may very well be his last in a Celtics uniform.

It is something that Allen says he has given no serious thought to simply because it is part of the been-there, answered-that line of questioning he and the rest of the Big Four usually get this time of year.

"It seems like we've been ruled out so many times before, so many years before," Allen said. "It's just another opportunity to go out and be who we are. So we're not worried about what's beyond today, what's beyond tomorrow. We'll worry about what we have in the present day."

Said Rondo: "I don't think about it at all. I just try to focus on the task at hand with the guys we have, which is Paul, Kevin, myself and the rest of the guys. Right now, we're excited about playing Game Seven."

Of the Big Four, Garnett's future is the one that's most intriguing. After there was some talk early in the season that he'd give some thought to retiring, Garnett turned back the hands of time and turned up his level of production after the all-star break.

And all talk about his future, he has quickly dismissed it and immediately shifted talks back towards this team, this season.

The focus right now is the playoffs," Garnett said. "I havent given it that much thought, to be honest. Were definitely aware of it."

Especially Pierce, who has probably talked more candidly about this being the potential final run for the Big Four before some - if not all - go their separate ways.

Pretty much the last couple of years weve been feeling like that," said Pierce, who added that the goal is to, "win another championship, regardless of whether this is going to be our last time together. We dont know what the future is going to hold for all of us, with KG in the last year of his contract, Ray in the last year of his contract; trade speculations have been going on, theres talk about rebuilding. There is a sense of urgency with us.

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.”