Together at last: Rondo, Bradley share the court

Together at last: Rondo, Bradley share the court
February 2, 2014, 6:45 pm
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BOSTON - Don't adjust your television.

That really is Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley starting together on the same backcourt.

There have been more Bigfoot sightings than Rondo-Bradley sightings over the years it would seem, but the two guards got plenty of court time on Sunday afternoon in the Celtics' 96-89 win over the Magic.

And based on the results, the Celtics hope to see them out there together much more often.

Brad Stevens had no choice but to watch film of the 2011-12 Celtics season when Rondo and Bradley got the bulk of their time together. Now, Stevens at least has some updated footage, with players who are actually still on the team.

All in all, the two have started just 30 games together. Stevens noted the importance of seeing how they work out there.

“Huge. Huge priority for me," Stevens said. "I think that those guys play – they seem to be on paper really good fits – but you know it’s better to see them in person.  And he made, Rondo for instance made a couple of plays where he was pulling up and shooting off the ball screen; we went up by three, he had a pick away for Avery, Avery came off the down, shot it in, we go up by five. Their strengths fit each other well on both ends of the floor, and so hopefully that can continue to be accentuated as we get further along into that – we add to those 30 games.”

Bradley scored 17 points in his return from a sprained ankle that kept him off the court for five games, plus most of the game against the Heat that he sprained it in.

Rondo played his best game yet since returning from ACL surgery, putting up 19 points and 10 assists. He had been averaging just 6.7 points and 5.7 assists per game heading into the game. Is it a coincidence that he had his best game yet in Bradley's return? Perhaps. But there's plenty of reason to believe that the two make each other better.

We already know that Rondo makes everybody better.

"It's going to help us out a lot," Bradley said of having Rondo back. "Like I said, having your floor general out there and you can tell he wants to win every single game. Just the energy that he gave us tonight was just amazing. He was getting everybody involved, he was talking to everybody on defense, he was getting us together throughout the whole game so we knew what we wanted to do on the offensive end. It was just amazing. I love playing with him and I'm pretty sure everybody else does as well."

Bradley has improved his shooting this season for sure, but he's still known for his defense. With Rondo on the court, he feels he can be more aggressive on that end.

"I know I'm a defensive player first," Bradley said. "To have him beside me the whole game, I know that he's going to have my back every single game. I can go out there and do what I do. And that's pressure our opponent and try to make everything hard on them."

Stevens joked before the game that he didn't expect the two players to be at "Bird-McHale" level yet. But Rondo isn't worried about not being on the same page as Bradley as the two get more games under their belts.

"Our chemistry is fine. He hasn't forgotten how I play and I haven't forgotten how he plays so it's the same," Rondo said. "We just know how to play the game. He knows the game of basketball. He knows when to make cuts. He's just a smart player and I think I'm a smart player too."

The future looks a lot brighter with Rondo and Bradley on the court together. The trick, though, is keeping them on the court together.