Shumpert Knicks' own version of Celtics' Bradley

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Shumpert Knicks' own version of Celtics' Bradley

BOSTON In preparing for the New York Knicks, Avery Bradley found himself watching what in many ways was a similar version of himself.

It was New York's Iman Shumpert who like Bradley, has established himself at a fairly young age as one of the better on-the-ball defenders in the NBA.

Bradley has known of Shumpert since they were in high school, and has always had a great amount of respect for Shumpert's defensive-minded approach to the game.

"You can tell he takes pride on the defensive end, just like I do," Bradley told CSNNE.com. "He's a good player."

While Shumpert's defense was solid as ever, it was 10 points - all coming in the first half - that played a pivotal role in helping the Knicks escape with an 89-86 win.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers is among the many who has been impressed with Shumpert's defensive skills that, in terms of impact, are similar to what the C's get from Bradley.

"He's a hell of a defender," Rivers said of Shumpert. "But they do it differently. He's so big; he's just bigger (than Bradley). But Avery is more the ball pressure all the way up the floor. That's the difference. But he's a great defender in his own right."

Having players like Bradley and Shumpert who are still young and so locked into being elite defenders, is a rarity in the NBA in terms of perimeter players.

"It's nice," Rivers said. "You would like one at each position, not all five but a small and a big that can guard. The small, you would love to guard 1s (point guards), 2s (shooting guards) and 3s (small forwards). You would love to have the one big you felt is a shut-down big and one guard that's a shut-down guard on your team. That's always nice."

And like Bradley (surgery on both shoulders), Shumpert has had to fight his way back on the floor after suffering a season-ending injury last season.

The torn left ACL and lateral meniscus injury that Shumpert suffered in April has limited him to just three games thus far for the New York Knicks.

Rivers understands all too well how difficult the journey can be for a player to get back on the floor after suffering such an injury.

When Rivers played for the Knicks, he too suffered a torn ACL injury.

"You find out a lot about yourself," said Rivers who came back in less than a year which was an unusually fast return to action back in the 1980s. "You grow up. It's not an injury you want. It's one of those injuries that requires you, if you're not a worker you will not come back from that injury. If you are, we've found that you can come back just as good and maybe even better, mentally tougher, stronger and just as athletic now. I think that's what you will see with Iman."

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics are about to hit one of the toughest stretches of the season and they’ll have to do it for at least one more game without their leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas. 
 
Thomas, who suffered a right groin injury on Monday against the Houston Rockets, did not play on Wednesday against Orlando and said that he will not play in Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors. 
 
“It’s day to day. I want to play. I want to be out there but it’s the smart decision to hold out and wait until it’s 100 percent,” Thomas said during a Season of Giving event for children of the Military Friends Foundation held at the Celtics’ practice facility. “If it was a playoff game I would be out there for sure.”
 
However, after consulting with a number of medical personnel, Thomas decided the best thing for him and the Celtics was to sit out Friday’s game which, along with Wednesday in Orlando, will be the first two he has missed since the 2014-2015 season. 
 
Thomas said there’s no specific timetable for his return, but he said he is planning to travel with the team to Oklahoma City for their matchup against the Thunder on Sunday. 
 
“It’s eating me a live to sit, but I have to do what’s best for my body, I have to do what’s best for this team,” Thomas said. “I need to be 100 percent healthy to give this team what I can give them.”
 
The Celtics are hoping for similar success they had Wednesday in Orlando (a 117-87 victory) on Friday against Toronto.
 
“They played a hell of a game last night,” Thomas said. “They’ll be ready tomorrow.”
 
The fact that Thomas intends to travel with the team is a good sign that the groin injury isn’t too serious. 
 
If he doesn’t play at Oklahoma City, that likely means he’ll return to action on Wednesday at San Antonio. 
 
“I’m going to do what I can to get back out there on the court,” Thomas said. “I gotta be smart about this. I don’t want this to linger on this season.”
 
Replacing Smart in the lineup against Toronto will most likely be Marcus Smart. 
 
Smart, who has been a replacement starter at small forward and point guard this season, had 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals against the Magic.