Lee has eyes on the ultimate prize with Celtics

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Lee has eyes on the ultimate prize with Celtics

BOSTON -- It was never about the money.

Courtney Lee was one of the most in-demand free agents this offseason. When it came time to select his new team, he seriously considered options from more than five organizations.

His decision ultimately came down to one factor: Winning.

Which team is going to be better? Which team was going to be playing in June? Lee told CSNNE.com on Thursday at the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation Summer Soiree at the Boston Childrens Museum. The money was never a factor because the other teams I was weighing my options with were paying more.

Lee, 26, is entering his fifth NBA season and eager to get back in the title hunt. After reaching the 2009 NBA Finals as a rookie on the Orlando Magic, the 6-foot-5 guard has not returned to the playoffs since then.

The Magic traded Lee to the New Jersey Nets as part of the Vince Carter deal that summer. The Nets went 17-65 in his sophomore season. The following year, Lee was dealt to the Houston Rockets. They failed to make the playoffs in his two seasons with the team.

Lee has been hungry for another shot at a championship. The Celtics share the same goal. They acquired Lee in a three-team trade in July, and he signed a multiyear contract with the Cs.

The guys that they have on this team, you've got KG Kevin Garnett, you've got Paul Pierce, you've got Rajon Rondo, and you've got a good core around them, Lee said. Adding Jason Terry, getting Jeff Green back, and then adding myself, that's definitely a playoff contender team. That's one thing I wanted to focus on, getting back to the playoffs.

Lee has known coach Doc Rivers for years through Rivers sons, Jeremiah and New Orleans Hornets rookie Austin. He understands and appreciates the determined mindset of the Celtics staff and players.

As a highly touted free agent, Lee could have gone elsewhere. But after craving a return to the postseason, he knew playoff contention didnt necessarily come with a bigger contract.

To better your career, you've got to make the best move possible, he said. And winning is one of those things you can't put a price on."

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

WALTHAM, Mass. – As the final horn blew in Boston’s 108-98 win over Charlotte on Monday night, the game was a win-win kind of night for Avery Bradley.

The Celtics (26-15) continue rolling over opponents at the TD Garden, and he played a relatively pain-free 33 minutes in the win.

It was Bradley’s first game back after missing the previous four with a strained right Achilles injury.

And the fact that he was back on the practice floor on Tuesday (be it a light practice, mind you), bodes well for his injury being a thing of the past now.

“I felt good. It wasn’t sore at all in the game,” Bradley said. “I felt I was moving good. After the game I was a little sore and this morning, but otherwise I felt good.”

Despite Boston being 4-1 this season when Bradley doesn’t play, he has immense value to this Celtics team at both ends of the floor.

Offensively he has been Boston’s second-leading scorer most of this season and currently averages a career-high 17.7 points per game along with 6.9 rebounds which is also a career high.

And defensively, Bradley is coming off a season in which he was named to the NBA’s all-Defensive First Team for the first time.

Any questions or concerns about the Achilles affecting his play defensively were put to rest Monday night when he put the defensive clamps on Nicolas Batum who missed nine of his 11 shots from the field while primarily being guarded by Bradley.

Now his offense, that’s another story.

Bradley failed to reach double digits scoring for the first time this season as he missed seven of his nine shots on Monday to finish with just five points.

But part of that had to do with Bradley passing up shots he normally takes, as well as him missing some he normally knocks down.

Considering his lay-off and the rhythm his teammates have been in shooting the ball in his absence, Bradley wisely decided to get his defensive bearings on track and gradually bring his offensive game around. 

“I have to get my (shooting) rhythm back,” said Bradley who is making a career-best 40.9 percent of his 3-pointers this season. “I’m fine. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”