BOSTON Following Friday night's 87-74 loss to Indiana, the Boston Celtics were in keep-your-head-up mode inside their locker room.
Phrases like "it's still early" and "no need to panic" were tossed around with the same kind of frequency as all of their missed shots.
And head coach Doc Rivers felt the same way.
But when talk turned towards the team's 4-4 record and a player said the C's were better than that, Rivers did not bite his tongue in disagreeing with that opinion.
"We're a 4-4 basketball team," Rivers said. "That's what we are. You are what your record is. Don't make no mistake about that."
Being a .500 team just eight games into the season is not reason to panic.
However, acknowledging who they are - a .500 team - is part of the process in moving forward from that position.
"You always have the ability to do something about that," Rivers said. "Right now, Indiana's a 5-2 team and we're a 4-4 team. That's who we are. That's not who we want to be, and that's not who we're going to be hopefully, but right now that's who we are."
Of the Celtics' first eight games, Indiana was clearly one of the tougher challenges even before the tip-off.
Losing to quality opponents like the Pacers or bad teams, doesn't really make much of a difference to Rivers.
"Well, we're 0-fer against quality opponents," Rivers said. "But again, it's eight games into the year, so I'm not going to overdo that."
WALTHAM – There are a number of NBA players we have seen through the years whose effort level has been questioned.
But when it comes to Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley, that has never been an issue.
In fact, Bradley’s all-out style of defense has been a major factor in him being sidelined for an extended period of time in each of his six NBA seasons.
Although he’s only 25 years old, Bradley is starting to embrace the idea of less all-out defense might not be such a bad idea.
“It’s hard to control my injuries because I play hard every single possession,” Bradley told CSNNE.com following the team’s first practice. “I can’t say that every NBA player doesn’t, but I know there’s not a lot. I play hard every single possession especially on the defensive end. That can take a toll on your body. I just have to make sure I’m taking care of myself and picking my spots a little better.”
Prior to the Celtics selecting Bradley with the 19th overall pick in the 2011, he suffered a dislocated shoulder injury. Throughout his five NBA seasons, the veteran guard has a long list of injuries which has sidelined him for at least five games every season in addition to missing some playoff games.
Knowing the risks involved in continuing his all-out brand of basketball, the fact that Bradley is even open to the idea of picking when to assert himself defensively and when to be more passive, is progress.
“I’m pretty sure someone like (ex-Celtics) Tony Allen … he’s not going to go hard like every possession,” Bradley said. “He’s going to pick his spots, still play good defense.”
Which is exactly what Bradley is striving to do this season, and show that last season’s all-NBA First Team Defense nod wasn’t a fluke.
But as we have seen with Bradley throughout his career with the Celtics, he has a way of coming back every season having made a significant stride in some facet of the game to become closer to being a two-way player.
“That’s my goal; I want my teammates to be able to count on me playing well at both ends of the floor,” Bradley said.
And as I mentioned earlier, Bradley is still a relatively young guy who turns 26 years old in November.
‘I’m still a 90s baby’ just like everybody on this team,” quipped Bradley.
Being so young puts a premium of sorts on players to learn all they can as quickly as they can in relation to their respective team.
“I feel young; I feel young,” Bradley said. “I feel young. I still haven’t even played a full season yet. This will be my first season playing a whole season.”
Listening to Bradley talk about adjusting how he plays defensively, it’s pretty clear that he’s having an internal tug-of-war between continuing to play elite defense and easing up defensively.
“That’s just me. Some people can do it. Maybe I could take some (plays) off, play passing lanes,” Bradley said. “But I don’t think I’ll ever change into that. It could help our team out a little bit.”
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