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

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

BOSTON – This continues to be a historic season for Isaiah Thomas as more records fell in Wednesday’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee, and the company he’s keeping becomes even more exclusive. 

Thomas had a game-high 32 points on Wednesday which included five made 3’s on nine attempts. That gave him 223 for the season which is a new franchise single-season record for made 3-pointers. The previous record was 222 set by Antoine Walker during the 2001-2002 season.

And his 32 points scored gives him 2,012 this season. 

Only six players in franchise history (Paul Pierce was the last to do it during the 2005-2006 season) have scored 2,000 or more points in a single season. 

Oh, there’s more. 

With Wednesday being the 66th time this season he has had 20 or more points, Thomas has now tied Pierce (2005-2006) and Larry Bird (1985-1986; 1987-1988) for sixth on the Celtics’ single-season franchise list. 

“I didn’t even know that,” a visibly disappointed Thomas said following Wednesday’s loss. “It doesn’t feel that good right now. But when I look back on it, probably in the offseason, I’ll appreciate it a little more. But I’m just staying in the moment and try and play as best I can to lead this team to as many wins as possible.”

Other season milestones Thomas is in the mix for include the following:

  • The 5-foot-9 guard is one of three players this season to have 50 or more games of 25-plus points, joined by Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (57) and Houston’s James Harden (54).
  • Thomas has made at least one 3-pointer in a franchise-record 50 straight games (Dec. 3 – March 29). That’s also the longest current streak in the NBA. 
  • With 66 games of 20 or more points this season, Thomas is second in the NBA to Westbrook (67).

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

BOSTON – One of the more bizarre plays in Boston’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee came in the second quarter, requiring some explanation from the officials afterwards. 

With 3:55 to play in the second quarter, the officials had originally called a foul on Marcus Smart which he verbally protested that eventually led to him being whistled for a technical foul. 

After the officials reviewed the play, they changed the call to a personal foul against Khris Middleton but no change to the called technical foul against Smart who objected to a call that, upon review, they agreed was the wrong call to make. 

Official Sean Corbin, through pool reporter Ken Powtak of the Associated Press, acknowledged that the original call was a loose ball foul against Smart. 

“The (officiating) crew got together, we met prior to video and we decided that we needed to look at video because both players were on the floor bleeding so we went to the video for a hostile act,” Corbin told Powtak. “In the review we noticed that Khris Middleton initially made contact to Marcus Smart’s face. That’s how the original contact to the play occurred.”

Fortunately for the Celtics, Middleton missed his technical free throw while Smart split a pair of free throws which cut Milwaukee’s lead to 49-40.

Still, that’s no consolation for Smart who was whistled for a technical foul on a play that the official acknowledged was the wrong call to make. 

In the fourth quarter, Smart was at the center of yet another controversial call that was also reviewed by the officials. The verdict wasn't nearly as good for Smart who was whistled for a flagrant foul after getting his feet tangled up with Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo who was called for a non-shooting foul in the play with 4:46 to play. 

Antetokounmpo made one of two free throws and on the Bucks' ensuing possession, he was called for traveling.

Smart was unavailable to talk after the game in part because the aforementioned incident left an abrasion to his mouth and, because of the technical foul, a little lighter in the wallet as well.