Johnson, Moore run the floor like old times

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Johnson, Moore run the floor like old times

BOSTON -- For over 20 minutes, Celtics rookies JaJuan Johnson and ETwaun Moore ran the court in a scene reminiscent of their previous four years at Purdue University.

The former college teammates have both received limited playing time this season on a veteran team. But with a shorthanded lineup on Tuesday against the Miami Heat, the two played meaningful minutes together.

Johnson recorded six points, three rebounds, two blocks, and a steal in 23 minutes. Moore posted seven points, seven boards, and one assist in over 24.

Following the Celtics 78-66 win, Johnson and Moore talked to CSNNE.com about playing together once again:
Back in Action Together

Johnson: It felt good. Its always fun to just play with somebody youre really, really comfortable with. Especially getting a win, thats the most important thing. It was just fun that we were able to contribute and have a good time.

Moore: It was definitely fun. I know his game, I know what he likes to do. Its always great when we play together. It was just fun.

College vs. the NBA

Johnson: The biggest difference, I guess, in college we were like the guys who you know were getting the ball. So you kind of play off of that a lot. Obviously at this level weve got to pay our dues and keep trying to improve. Thats the difference. Youve still got to play within the team offense.

Moore: Its not a whole lot different. Were doing kind of similar things -- pick-and-roll, pop, hand off, things like that. Its kind of similar.

Assessing One Another Then and Now

Johnson: I think ETwaun has slowed down a lot. His ball handling has got a lot better. Hes been running the sets, he gets people more organized, and everything like that. Its been good just to see that from him.

Moore: I see JaJuan has definitely got a little stronger, more physical. That was definitely a step up. Hes always learning more. That (Johnson was called for an offensive foul) was what he needed, a little physical.

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.

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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.