Garnett (hip flexor) good to go for postseason

704382.jpg

Garnett (hip flexor) good to go for postseason

WALTHAM -- When asked about Kevin Garnetts hip flexor, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers paused.

Oh I thought you asked, was he hip? he said, adding a joke. I was going to say no to that, would be my answer.

Turns out Rivers has better reviews on Garnetts health than his fashion sense.

Garnett missed Tuesdays game against the Miami Heat with a hip flexor. He returned on Thursday against the Milwaukee Bucks, posting four points, three assists, two rebounds, and a steal in 11 minutes.Rivers expects Garnett to be able to play through the injury in the postseason.

I think hes good, said Rivers. The hip flexor is always going to be an issue with him. Once that thing starts, youve been around long enough, it never stops. It just kind of doesnt hurt as much. Thats a painful injury. But the good thing about that injury is you can keep playing. It just hurts.

Rivers will manage Garnetts minutes the same way he has all season. His 5-5-5 plan of five minutes in, five minutes out for Garnett has paid off.

Garnett, who turns 36 in May, is averaging 15.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.9 assists this season, his highest scoring average since the 2008-09 season and highest assist average since 2007-08.

He missed just six of 66 games this season, which includes games in which Rivers rested his starters down the stretch. Garnett sat out less than ten games this regular season for the first time during his career with the Celtics.

I think its been great, Rivers said of the strategy to manage Garnetts minutes. Honestly, Im kicking myself three years now, really. I wish I had done that with him at least a year earlier. I think its really helped him. He doesnt pace himself. He knows how hard he can go. You couldnt do that with more than one guy, youd be a revolving chair. But if you can designate a guy or maybe two a year to do that, thats something Ive really fallen in love with. I think its a good thing for the older guys.

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.

MORE:

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.