Bradley shows off shooting touch vs. Bobcats


Bradley shows off shooting touch vs. Bobcats

BOSTON Every now and then, Doc Rivers reminds us all that Avery Bradley is much better scorer than he's given credit for.

Part of that has to do with the players he's surrounded by. But more than that, it's because he's such a defensive demon to opponents.

Having his offensive game slighted can prove costly, something the Charlotte Bobcats discovered on Monday as Bradley's barrage of threes played a prominent role in Boston's 100-89 win to extend the C's season-long winning streak to six in a row.

Bradley, appearing in his seventh game of the season while recovering from surgery to both shoulders, had a season-high 16 points which included four threes -- one short of tying his career high which was set last season against the New York Knicks on April 17.

The fact that Bradley is starting to come on as an offensive force is not lost on Rivers.

"He missed a lot of games," Rivers said. "When you miss games, you can play defense when you get back. Everything else is timing . . . he's starting to get his timing."

And most defenses are actually making it much easier for the 6-foot-2 guard to develop a nice flow to his shot-making, too.

"They still, in the league, don't think he can shoot because the shots he's getting are unbelievable," Rivers said. "They're wide open and it's every night."

The man finding Bradley often for those wide-open shots is Rajon Rondo, who had a triple-double -- 17 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds -- in Boston's victory over Charlotte.

Even if teams overlook what Bradley does offensively, Rondo doesn't believe that's something that Bradley is concerning himself with at this point.

"He's a leader of this team; he's big for us on both ends of the floor," said Rondo. "So we know what we have as a player in Avery."

Bradley is what Celtics big man Kevin Garnett often refers to as being what the C's are collectively: a team of defenders who can also score the ball.

And while there are several Boston players who fall under that category, few seem to symbolize that type of player on this C's team, more than Bradley.

When you consider the players Bradley is on the floor with most of the time, getting enough shots would appear to be an issue.

Not for Bradley, who is averaging 9.3 shot attempts per game -- up from 6.3 attempts last season.

"I just want to come out and be aggressive, offensively and defensively," Bradley said recently. "That's what my teammates need for me to do -- just take what the defense gives me and continue to just work hard defensively and doing those things, good things will happen."

Highlights: Boston Celtics 109, Indiana Pacers 100

Highlights: Boston Celtics 109, Indiana Pacers 100

Catch the highlights of the Boston Celtics 109-100 win over the Indiana Pacers at home and hear from Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Al Horford.

Bradley 'not even tired' after playing 39 minutes vs. Pacers

Bradley 'not even tired' after playing 39 minutes vs. Pacers

BOSTON – As Avery Bradley made his way to the middle of the post-game media scrum inside the Boston Celtics locker room, he was informed that he had played 39 minutes in their 109-100 win over Indiana.

“I played 39?” Bradley said. “Man, I’m not even tired.”

And that may be the clearest sign to date that Bradley, a defensive pest who has been pestered by injuries this season, is as healthy as we’ve seen him in some time.

In addition to scoring 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting, he also grabbed eight rebounds, dished out a couple of assists, had a steal and was the head of the defensive snake that made life as hard as possible on Paul George who still managed to have a big night scoring the ball.

For Bradley to play so many minutes is a bit of a surprise when you consider how overcautious the Celtics were with his return from a right Achilles injury that kept him out for 18 straight games.

Bradley attributes the Celtics having some time off leading up Wednesday’s game.

“It was good for us and we were definitely prepared (on Wednesday),” Bradley said. “And it showed we’re improving every day as a team. We’re really locking in when we need to.”

And while he was one of three different primary defenders on George (Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder were the others), Bradley was the guy head coach Brad Stevens turned to most consistently down the stretch.

Bradley was the only Celtic to play all 12 minutes of the fourth quarter. The only other players that were on the floor for the entire fourth quarter, were Indiana's Monta Ellis and George.

You think Bradley was out there to shut down (2-for-10 from the field) Ellis?

Uh … nope!

“He (Bradley) was on Paul some,” Stevens said. “Not the whole time he was in. Marcus (Smart) guarded him a lot. Jae (Crowder) guarded him some as well. We just felt like we had to rotate bodies on them. I did not plan on playing Avery quite that many minutes.”

Stevens put Bradley back in the game to start the second and fourth quarters, something he normally does for Terry Rozier who did not play (coaches decision).

“And he maybe sat a minute at the end of the second,” Stevens said. “So that’s 24 minutes and usually it’s about twelve-to-fifteen.”

The additional playing time is something Bradley certainly isn’t going to ever complain about.

The same holds true for the Celtics having clinched a playoff spot prior to Wednesday’s tip-off.

“I don’t think anyone talked about it,” Bradley said. “We were just treating this like any other game, try to be prepared, go out there and execute the offensive game plan … I feel we did a great job of doing that.”

Indeed, the Celtics are playing with a flow and overall rhythm that’s making it extremely tough on their foes.

“If you look at their roster, everybody knows what to expect out of everybody,” said Paul George. “There’s never a moment where a guy is like, ‘What kind of shot are you taking?’ or ‘what are you doing?’ They are beyond that.”