Rondo influenced Heat rookie Cole's season


Rondo influenced Heat rookie Cole's season

BOSTON -- In the Celtics second game of the season, a rookie in just the second game of his career scored 20 points to help the Heat take away a 115-107 win in Miami.

Now only days before the postseason, Heat rookie Norris Cole looked back on how his success against Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has influenced his first year in the NBA.

I learned that I could potentially be good in this league performing against one of the top point guards in Rondo, he told prior to the Celtics' 78-66 win. It was my first home game so I was playing with a lot of bottled up emotions and I still was able to perform, learn how to perform under a certain amount of pressure at this level, and learn some of the Xs and Os of the game under great defenses.

Cole played 29 minutes off the bench, shooting 8-for-16 from the field and 4-for-6 from the line in the December 27 game. He also recorded four rebounds, four assists, and three steals.

Along the way, Cole paid attention to Rondos moves. He has tried to incorporate them into his game throughout the season.

He rebounds well for a guard, very well, Cole said. He controls just about everything that happens on the team. Being a leader and being able to affect the game on both ends, I think thats what I took the most from it and thats what I try to add to my game.

Cole entered that early season game with high expectations, and they were affirmed. He has taken that approach to every game he has played so far. Chances are, its a similar mindset to Rondos.

I always expect to play well, Cole said. Thats what we work hard for every day. I have very, very high expectations.

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.”