Big matchup For Bradley

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Big matchup For Bradley

I don't know how Avery Bradley spent his All Star Weekend. Maybe he stayed back in Boston, or vacationed in the Tropics. Maybe he went home to Seattle, or passed the time running at full speed on a hamster wheel. I don't know. But whatever he did, I hope he's ready for tonight's match-up with the Nuggets.

You remember the last time Boston and Denver faced off. It was that classic triple overtime game on the Sunday after the blizzard. You remember the heroics of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and the C's shocking the world for their seventh straight post-Rajon Rondo victory.

But you might not remember that over the course of that amazing win, Bradley the C's lock down perimeter defender was abused like we've never seen before (or since) by Denver's Ty Lawson.

Lawson finished with 29 points, nine assists and six rebounds. He also beat Bradley for a last second, game-tying hoop in regulation, and hit a shot with 18 seconds left in the second OT to put the Nuggets up three (before Pierce's own last second magic).

Naturally, it didn't help that Bradley was in foul trouble for most of the game (before fouling out in the second overtime), but that just comes with the territory. And that had a lot to do with Lawson, against whom Avery picked up three of his six fouls.

The Nuggets took the floor that snowy night having won nine straight and 15 of their last 17 games. Oddly enough, they haven't won since responding to that loss in Boston by coming up short in Toronto and Brooklyn before breaking for the break. However, those losses had nothing to with Lawson.

He followed up his 29-point performance against the Celtics with another 29 against the Raptors and 26 against the Nets. He also had nine assists in all three games, and shot a combined 35-53 from the field (that's 63 percent) and 9-14 from three (that's 64 percent!). Bottom line: Lawson has quickly developed into not only the Nuggets floor general but their most explosive and reliable scorer. That may say as much about the inconsistencies of Andre Iguodala. That may also not give enough credit to Danilo Gallinari (who's averaging 21.2 points in 2013). But no matter how you look at it, Ty Lawson is the head of this Denver attack, and in the famous words of David Ortiz: If the head is right, the body is going to function right. If the head is messed up, then the body is going to be all over the place."

Avery Bradley is the Celtics resident head hunter. Lawson who possesses a deadly combination of speed, strength, range and determination around the rim is and will continue to be one of Integer 0's toughest assignments. And tonight, Bradley's success will have a lot to say about on which foot the Celtics will start the second half, and no doubt set the tone for tomorrow night's rematch against the Lakers.

Should be fun.
Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

NBA's a global game, and the Celtics are all in

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NBA's a global game, and the Celtics are all in

BOSTON – The NBA has become more of an international game as teams scour the globe in search of the next big basketball talent.

While some franchises such as the San Antonio Spurs have been poaching talented international players for years, other franchises have been more locked into adding American-born ballers.

The Boston Celtics have paid close attention to the best international players for several years.

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But more often than not, additions to their roster through the draft have come from the college ranks with an occasional international player added via free agency.

This season's team will definitely have a certain international flavor to it with overseas additions coming by way of players they drafted and signed as free agents to bolster what should be one of the deeper teams in the East.

Boston has six rookies with guaranteed contracts for this upcoming season, four of which were born outside of the United States.

And of those four rookies, three of them – Guerschon Yabusele (16th overall pick); Ante Zizic (23rd overall pick) and Abdel Nader; 58th overall pick) – were selected in the 2016 draft but didn't join the team immediately. 

Yabusele who is originally from France, spent most of last season in China and came to the States and played briefly with the Celtic’s Gatorade League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. He will be among the bevy of young players competing for minutes off the Celtics bench. 

Zizic, born in Croatia, spent last season playing in his native country as well as in Turkey. The 7-foot center will come into training camp competing for playing time, possibly as Boston’s starting center.

And then there’s Nader, a G-League all-star as well as the G-League’s rookie of the year last season. The Egyptian-American wing player showed promise in each of the last two summer leagues which is in part why the Celtics signed him to a four-year, $6 million deal with only the first year fully guaranteed. 

They each have different strengths that only add value to a Boston squad that’s being built to play just about every style of play imaginable.

But the Celtics didn’t limit their pursuit of international talent to just the draft.

Boston has also signed German Forward Daniel Theis. 

Unlike the international players drafted by Boston, Theis is a bit of a mystery to most Celtics fans.

Last season he averaged 10.7 points and 4.6 rebounds for Brose Bamberg of Germany, while shooting 41.0 percent from 3-point range and 59.8 percent from the field.

And that season ended with a German championship, just like the previous two seasons for the 6-9, 243-pound forward who is expected to come in and compete for playing time off the bench for a Celtics team that’s looking for