James has nothing but praise for Rivers

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James has nothing but praise for Rivers

BOSTON You can add LeBron James to the long list of players who have nothing but love for Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers.

Even though James at times made dominating the Eastern Conference finals look easy, he admits that it was quite draining.

The Celtic players certainly played a role, but just as important -- to James at least -- was the impact of Rivers.

"It's probably one of the best coached teams that you can ever compete against," James said. "Doc Rivers keeps those guys prepared, and they have four future Hall of Famers in Paul (Pierce), (Rajon) Rondo, KG (Kevin Garnett) and Ray (Allen). It's challenging going against those guys."

It won't get any easier for him in the NBA Finals against Oklahoma City, with Game 1 tonight.

And while there's plenty of pressure on both sidelines, the three-time MVP plans to simply do what he's been doing in the playoffs and that's focus solely on basketball.

He acknowledged that wasn't necessarily the case in his two previous NBA Finals appearances, both ending with his team losing the series.

"Last year, so much had gone on with that series and the whole season," said James, referring to the Heat losing in six games in the Finals to the Dallas Mavericks. "And like I said, I played too much to prove people wrong last year, instead of just playing my game and doing what needs to be done.

"And then the first (Finals loss in which Cleveland was swept by San Antonio), I was young, inexperienced," James added. "We had an inexperienced team, and the San Antonio team did what they wanted to against us in that first experience. For me, I'm just at ease now. At the end of the day in this series, I'm going to play my game, try to do whatever it takes on both ends to make plays and help us win. And at the end of the day, whatever the results I'm going to be satisfied with that. I'm going to be happy with it because I know I'm going to give it my all, and I won't leave nothing behind."

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

BOSTON – Wednesday’s 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks was the fifth time in the last six games that Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley was out because of a right Achilles injury.

Well, it appears the 6-foot-2 guard may miss a few more with this injury.

“I can see him missing a little more time,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said following Wednesday’s loss. “I just think maybe he came back a little bit too early, whatever the case may be.”

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Bradley was expected to play against the Knicks, but was a last-minute scratch.

Celtics big man Al Horford said he didn’t find out Bradley was out until the team was on the floor doing pre-game warmups and he didn’t see him.

“He was really sore,” Stevens said of Bradley. “Went through our walk-through and then came on to the court and did some stuff and was more sore today than he has been. I think he did treatment the whole game.”

This latest setback for Bradley is part of a growing narrative that has dogged him throughout his career which has included him missing games to injury in each of his six-plus NBA seasons.

Bradley came into this season once again hoping to be as injury-free as possible, only to see that dream dashed with this right Achilles strain he's suffering with currently.

Still, there’s no downplaying the significance and value the Celtics have in the 26-year-old. This season, he is second on the Celtics in scoring at 17.7 points per game and leads them in rebounds with 6.9 per game with both being career highs. In addition, he averages just under 35 minutes per game which is also tops on the team.

Marcus Smart has been Stevens’ choice to replace Bradley in the starting lineup when Bradley has been unavailable, and that’s not likely to change between now and Saturday’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers.