Stiemsma hopes solid play will lead to roster spot

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Stiemsma hopes solid play will lead to roster spot

BOSTON -- He mentioned all the right words to fit in with the Boston Celtics.

Defense.

Rebounds.

Focus.

Greg Steimsma has transitioned smoothly into the Celtics system during training camp. In Wednesdays preseason win over the Toronto Raptors, he showcased what he could add to the team if he made the regular season roster.

I hope I showed I belong, that I can play at this level, and that I can help this team whether its three or four minute stretches or whatever it be, practice, whatever it is, he said. I feel I can step in and help them out.

In nearly 18 minutes off the bench, Steimsma recorded seven points, five rebounds, and two blocked shots. Hes proving to be compatible with the goals of the Celtics reserves -- understand your role and contribute to your highest potential in the minutes you play.

He played great, which is good," said head coach Doc Rivers. "Its good to see. It was nice because we played him with some of the starters, which we were trying to do, and he blocked shots, he could run the floor, he can make a shot from the elbow. That was great when he just jacked it. That was what we wanted him to do. So it was a good showing by him.

Steimsma, a 26-year-old journeyman, has played in the NBA Development League and overseas. He hopes that the skills he has been honing over the years will be an asset to the Celtics. Steimsma pointed to taking care of the ball, good shot selection, and attention to details as a few of his strengths thats mesh with the Cs system.

Defensively, I just tried to hold down in the paint as much as I can, he said. I didnt get as many rebounds as maybe I wanted to, but I hit a couple of shots, ran the floor. I thought I got that one bucket in transition. Weve got guys that will find you. If you run, youre going to get rewarded. So it was a combination of a few little things.

After getting a few reps under his belt, Steimsma settled in on the court. It also helped to have supportive teammates, coaches, and fans behind him.

I know Bostons a great sports town, he said. They love their Celtics.

Bradley locked in during return to Celtics lineup vs. Hornets

Bradley locked in during return to Celtics lineup vs. Hornets

BOSTON – When you look at Avery Bradley’s growth this season, seeing the tremendous strides he has made offensively is clear.

But at the heart of Bradley’s game remains a desire to dominate a matchup as a defender, something that was alive and well on Monday as he made his return to the floor after missing the four previous games with an Achilles strain.

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Bradley’s defense would prove instrumental in Boston’s 108-98 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday.

He was 2-for-9 from the field and played nearly 33 minutes against Hornets which is just a couple minutes under his season average of court time.

Usually he’s responsible for providing a boost at both ends of the floor.

But considering his long lay-off, it was clear early on that he was locked in defensively more so than looking to get back on track shooting the ball.

“You take any type of games off in this league, your rhythm and all that you gotta get it back,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder.

Even though his shots weren’t falling, Bradley was on top of his game defensively while guarding 6-foot-8 Nicolas Batum who is six inches taller but never was a factor on Monday.

Batum finished with eight points on 2-for-11 shooting from the field.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens liked what he got out of Bradley in his return to action.

“I thought he (Bradley) was great,” Stevens told CSNNE.com. “He did everything we needed him to do. We knew there would be a little bit of rust (shooting the ball), but that’s part of you playing your way back into it.”

As far as Bradley’s stifling defense on Batum, Stevens said, “You have to do that against Batum. I thought Avery did a really good job of that. It’s a hard matchup no matter what way you go. Batum, giving up inches to him. He (Bradley) was there on the catch all night.”

And as Bradley gradually gets back into a flow, he’ll regain the form offensively that made him one of the NBA’s better two-way players this season.