Stevens to see what he has in Rondo, Bradley backcourt

Stevens to see what he has in Rondo, Bradley backcourt
February 2, 2014, 11:45 am
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BOSTON - Nobody would blame you if you forgot what the Celtics were like with both Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley on the court together.

But you'll get a refresher Sunday against the Magic.

Bradley, who has missed the the last five games (and played just seven minutes vs. the Heat) with a sprained right ankle, is active, and head coach Brad Stevens said there is no minutes restriction for the shooting guard.

The Celtics certainly could use him. They are 1-5 in the games he's missed since the injury, and have failed to hit 100 points in regulation in any of the games (they scored 113 in an overtime win over the Wizards, 14 of which came in overtime).

Bradley hasn't been the only missing player. Jerryd Bayless missed time with a sprained toe. Courtney Lee was traded. Ditto with Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks. The C's have tried to piece together a lineup through those changes.

"It's difficult," Stevens said. "Obviously Avery is a guy that has been here and so he's been around and everything else. But it's been tough juggling those things in the past few weeks just because we've been shorthanded for a number of reasons but mostly just because personnel change and injury. But I think the guys have done a reasonable job when called upon in those tough circumstances so hopefully as we get more bodies we become a little bit more consistent."

Having the starting backcourt healthy is obviously a big key to consistency.

"They really haven't gotten much time together in the last two years," Stevens said. "I think it'll be nice. But I'm not expecting them to play like Bird and McHale just yet either. I think it's something that takes a little bit of time to get the feel of how they play best together. And I do think they can be a heck of a combination. And I do think they really like playing together, so I think it's really good for them to now get a chance to do that."

Stevens hasn't been able to see much if any of Rondo and Bradley playing together since he's become head coach, except from watching film of the two playing together in 2011-12 season. He seems to have a pretty good grasp of what they each can do offensively and defensively, but it will be interesting to see what Stevens can do to improve that duo on the court.

"Offensively I think we all know what they do, right?" Stevens said. "Rondo is a distributor, a passer, a play-maker and Avery is more comfortable at the 2 (shooting guard). I think that fits pretty easily and well. I think defensively they add some flexibility in that Rondo can guard off the ball or point. Avery, same. If Oladipo is giggling us problems, maybe you end up switching. If Afflalo is giving you problems, maybe you just end up switching. You just kind of go and play it by ear that way."