Smith's call to play against Celtics

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Smith's call to play against Celtics

Apparently the decision as to whether Atlanta's Josh Smith (left knee) will play in Friday's Game 3 matchup against the Boston Celtics is one man's decision -- Josh Smith.
Hawks coach Larry Drew told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the decision on whether Smith will play is his alone.
Its strictly going to go on his call," Drew said. "I know Josh, hes a warrior. If he feels like he can play, he wants to be out there. If he cant go we dont want him out there limping around and injuring the knee.
When told that the decision to play was his to make, Smith smiled.
"Oh, they are going to put the pressure on me like that? It's OK. If it feels good, I'm going to go. I'm not one to harness injuries. I have a high threshold for pain. If I feel like I can go a little bit I'm going to step out on floor."
While this series is filled with a number of future Hall of Famers and all-stars, Smith has distinguished himself as arguably the best player in the series.
In the two games, he has averaged 19 points and 15 rebounds in addition to 4.5 assists and 1.5 blocked shots per game.
Even before the series began, a number of Boston players -- among them, Paul Pierce -- spoke glowingly about Smith's play.
"He is a lot of work," Pierce said. "He's an all-star in my mind. He's playing as good as anybody in the NBA at this point."
"Those guys are Hall of Fame players," Smith said in a recent interview with CSNNE.com. "To hear that come out of their mouths, it really gives me motivation and drive to become an all-star one day."
But first things first.
He has to get back on the floor in this series, something that may happen as early as Friday.
And with injuries that will keep Al Horford (pectoral surgery) and Zaza Pachulia (foot), the Hawks need as many abled-bodies in the frontcourt as possible.
Still, you won't find Smith rushing to get back on the floor if he's not healthy enough to play meaningful minutes.
"I don't want to put that much pressure on me," Smith told the AJC. "I understand how important this series is, but it's more than one game. I don't want to go out there too early and risk getting injured more."

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

BOSTON – Wednesday’s 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks was the fifth time in the last six games that Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley was out because of a right Achilles injury.

Well, it appears the 6-foot-2 guard may miss a few more with this injury.

“I can see him missing a little more time,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said following Wednesday’s loss. “I just think maybe he came back a little bit too early, whatever the case may be.”

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Bradley was expected to play against the Knicks, but was a last-minute scratch.

Celtics big man Al Horford said he didn’t find out Bradley was out until the team was on the floor doing pre-game warmups and he didn’t see him.

“He was really sore,” Stevens said of Bradley. “Went through our walk-through and then came on to the court and did some stuff and was more sore today than he has been. I think he did treatment the whole game.”

This latest setback for Bradley is part of a growing narrative that has dogged him throughout his career which has included him missing games to injury in each of his six-plus NBA seasons.

Bradley came into this season once again hoping to be as injury-free as possible, only to see that dream dashed with this right Achilles strain he's suffering with currently.

Still, there’s no downplaying the significance and value the Celtics have in the 26-year-old. This season, he is second on the Celtics in scoring at 17.7 points per game and leads them in rebounds with 6.9 per game with both being career highs. In addition, he averages just under 35 minutes per game which is also tops on the team.

Marcus Smart has been Stevens’ choice to replace Bradley in the starting lineup when Bradley has been unavailable, and that’s not likely to change between now and Saturday’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers.