Rivers expects everyone to play despite injury

755612.jpg

Rivers expects everyone to play despite injury

ATLANTA The off days since the Boston Celtics Game 4 win didn't bring about the improvements in health that the C's would have wanted.

Still, with a chance to eliminate the Hawks tonight, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he expects his usual cast of characters on the floor tonight.

Following Sunday's 101-79 win over Atlanta, Rivers was concerned that injuries might prevent some players - namely Paul Pierce and Avery Bradley - from playing tonight.

Pierce suffered a left knee injury during the Celtics' morning shoot-around prior to Game 4, and re-aggravated it in the first half of the C's Game 4 win. He returned in the second half, but left for good after the Celtics built up a substantial lead.

Bradley has had been bothered by a sore left shoulder that made his availability uncertain prior to Game 4.

Other injuries of note include Mickael Pietrus (hamstring) and Ray Allen (right ankle), although Allen's injury appears to be the least bothersome of them all right now.

Rivers said prior to this morning's shoot-around that as of now, he didn't expect to have to make any changes to the lineup due to injuries.

"Everyone's going to play, I think," Rivers said.

Even Allen, who has shown no signs of a setback in the two games he has played after missing nearly a month of the season with a right ankle injury.

"Ray feels good; he's probably the healthiest right now," Rivers said.

Healthy is not something Avery Bradley would use to describe how he's feeling now, or will feel anytime soon.

The pain associated with the shoulder injury that bothered him throughout the season, has become worse in the playoffs.

Prior to being given the green light to play on Sunday, Bradley went through a set of pre-game shooting drills under the watchful eye of the C's medical staff.

That's unlikely to happen tonight, with Bradley tellingCSNNE.comthat he has every intention of playing tonight.

"It's still sore," he said of the shoulder injury that cost him one game during the regular season. "I know it's going to be sore. I'll just fight through the pain. I'll be alright."

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics host the Raptors at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game Preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]

- Live Extra FAQ: All your questions answered

- Latest on the Celtics: All of the most recent news and notes

- Talk about the game via social media on CSN's Pulse, presented by Ford

Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

BOSTON – Avery Bradley doesn’t mind being a standout, but this is probably not what he had in mind. 

Injuries have ravaged the Boston Celtics’ starting five to the point where only one player, Bradley, has been with the first unit in all 22 games this season. 

Just like Bradley was looked upon to step his game up in the absence of Isaiah Thomas (right groin) at Orlando on Wednesday, he will once again be challenged to lead Boston (13-9) to victory tonight when the Thomas-less Celtics face the Toronto Raptors. 

Bradley’s emergence as a two-way talent this season has overshadowed at times what has been another season of elite play defensively. 

And he’ll need to be on top of his defensive game tonight against a Raptors All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. 

Both Lowry and DeRozan present a different kind of challenge for Bradley who will spend time defending each of them at various points during the game. 

Lowry has good size, strength and deceptive quickness in addition to an under-rated perimeter game that will keep Bradley on his toes for sure. 

This season he's averaging 20.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and a career-high 7.6 assists while shooting 42.9 percent on 3's which is also a career mark. 

And DeRozan is having the kind of season that might get him a few league MVP votes. 

His 28.0 points per game ranks fifth in the NBA, but making his numbers even more impressive is that unlike most guards DeRozan doesn’t generate much offense from three-pointers.

DeRozan averages 1.8 three-point attempts per game which is the fewest attempts among any player ranked among the league’s top-25 scorers.

The 6-foot-7 All-Star is the master of the mid-range game which accounts for 31.5 percent of the points he scores. And when he’s not shooting the mid-range, he’s working a defender in one-on-one iso-situations. 

That helps explain why 76.4 percent of his two-point made field goals are unassisted. 

But here’s the thing about Bradley. 

As much as we give him props for what he does defensively, it’s his offense that has put him on the map as a potential All-Star this season. 

Bradley is averaging a career-high 17.9 points while shooting 47.2 percent from the field. He’s also averaging a career-high 7.8 rebounds per game in addition to shooting a career-high 40.7 percent on 3's.

But for Bradley, individual accolades are only going to come his way by the Celtics winning games; preferably against above-average teams like the Toronto Raptors.

And that would make both Bradley and the Celtics stand out this season.