James has nothing but praise for Rivers

790690.jpg

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."

How the 1956 draft changed the Celtics franchise

csoraldrafts525_1280x720_692983363611.jpg

How the 1956 draft changed the Celtics franchise

We take a look at how the 1956 Boston Celtics draft landed them three All-Stars and changed the franchise forever.

Avery Bradley elected to NBA All-Defensive First Team

avery-bradley.jpg

Avery Bradley elected to NBA All-Defensive First Team

BOSTON -- It seems that while Avery Bradley comes back every season with something new that he’s added to his game offensively, his defense has always been solid.

But this past year, Bradley, 25, was more committed to being not just a great on-the-ball defender, but also to expanding his game at that end of the floor to be a better help defender, too.

Bradley’s efforts didn't go unnoticed. The NBA announced Wednesday that he was among the players named to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team.

It was Bradley's first time being named to the first team. His only other all-league recognition defensively came in 2013, when he was named to the league's second unit.

Bradley's play certainly was pivotal in his selection. But it didn't hurt that Portland's C.J. McCollum praised Bradley via social media as the best perimeter defender in the NBA.

"I don't think it's close," tweeted McCollum. 

San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard was the lone unanimous choice on the first team. In addition to Leonard and Bradley, the first team also included Golden State’s Draymond Green, Los Angeles Clippers big man DeAndre Jordan, and Jordan’s teammate Chris Paul.

Of the first-team players, Bradley was third in total points (149), which included 62 first-team votes and 25 second-team votes. The only players with more first-team votes were Leonard (130) and Green (123).

Players were awarded two points for a first-team vote and one point for a second-team vote.

The All-NBA Defensive Second team included Paul Millsap of Atlanta, Paul George of Indiana, Hassan Whiteside of Miami, ex-Celtic and current Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen and Chicago’s Jimmy Butler.

Bradley wasn’t the only Celtic to receive some all-Defensive love from voters. Jae Crowder had a total of 47 points, which included 3 first-team votes. His 47 points were the third-highest among players not named to the first or second team.  Also, Celtics guard Marcus Smart received seven points which included 2 first-team votes.