Foul trouble costs Bradley, Celtics

Foul trouble costs Bradley, Celtics
April 11, 2013, 12:15 am
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BOSTON —  Avery Bradley found himself in an unfamiliar place most of Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-2 guard spent most of Wednesday's game against Brooklyn watching from the bench instead of wearing down an opponent.

And his absence had a major impact on the game's outcome, ending with a 101-93 loss to the Nets.

So it should come as no surprise that the game's most dominant player was Deron Williams, the man Bradley was only able to guard for a paltry 12 minutes due to too many early fouls.

Williams had 29 points and 12 rebounds, and certainly played like one of the league's top point guards.

But even he acknowledged his performance got a boost because of Bradley's foul problems.

Bradley's teammate, Paul Pierce, knows that whistles could come quicker on Bradley guarding a superstar guard like Williams.

"You talk about a premier guard, a premier defensive guard who for the most part we're gonna put on Deron Williams for most of the night," said Pierce who led the Celtics with 23 points. "I thought he probably got robbed on a couple of calls that could have went either way that could have kept him out of foul trouble, but he's playing against an All-Star point guard, and some nights the calls aren't gonna go your way."

As much as Bradley's presence helps the Celtics defensively, C's head coach Doc Rivers lamented the fact that his absence for all but 12 minutes on Wednesday impacted what the Celtics were looking to do offensively as well.

"The fouls on Avery early hurt our rhythm, took us out of our offense a little bit, and honestly we never got it," Rivers said.

Wednesday was just the sixth time this season Bradley picked up five or more fouls in a game. In the previous five games the Celtics were 4-1.

"It was hard to get going," Bradley said. "I really didn't get a feel for anything, either end of the floor. But it happens. All I can do is continue to keep on fighting, and playing hard."

Williams made no secret about going into full blown attack mode with Bradley sidelined due to foul trouble for most of the game.

"Avery's a tough defender and you can't really afford to play around with the ball," Williams said. "So I was just trying to make quick moves  - one or two dribbles and then go. Once I saw that he was in foul trouble I tried to be a little bit more aggressive."

Rivers was disappointed that Bradley spent the bulk of the game on the bench with foul trouble. Even more disappointing was how a few of the fouls called, at least to Rivers, were questionable ones.

"He just picked up the fouls and then ... I don't know," Rivers said. "I actually think he's playing really good defense, and I don't know, those are the ones I didn't like."

Bradley picked up his second personal foul at the 8:16 mark of the first quarter with the Celtics ahead 7-4.

His third foul came at the four minute mark of the second quarter, and that sent him to the bench - and the Celtics into a major tailspin.

With Bradley on the bench, the Nets closed out the half with a 15-4 run and led 53-43 at the half.

From there, the C's were in catchup-mode but could never put together enough defensive stops or timely baskets to put some type of pressure on Brooklyn.

"Those games happen," Rivers said. "It had to be unbelievably frustrating for him (Bradley). It was probably, really frustrating for our team as well, because we needed him. It's no coincidence that right when Avery went off the floor, Deron Williams got ultra-aggressive. And I give Deron a lot of credit; when Avery picked up that first foul, he attacked him. Because they know; they want him (Bradley) off the floor. So Deron's smart. He wants to score. And the best way to do that is taking Avery off the floor."