Celtics react to NBA rule that will cut pregame rituals

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Celtics react to NBA rule that will cut pregame rituals

BROOKLYN, NY The NBA's efforts to speed up the start of games has not gone over well with some players.

But there's another group of people who might be impacted even more: coaches.

The league has informed players that it will crack down on the usual pre-game handshakes and other rituals that players, in some cases, have done for years.

After player introductions, players will be expected to be ready to play after 90 seconds.

Not only does it mean that players such as Kevin Garnett will have to modify their pre-game preparation, but it also means a change of sorts for coaches as well.

"I think they forgot that the coach actually has to draw up a play before the opening (tip)," said Boston's Doc Rivers. "You usually do that."

Rivers added, "I like why we're doing it. I just think we need to re-think the time. Ninety seconds is not enough. We probably need 30 more seconds or a minute."

Other players throughout the NBA have already chimed in and expressed their dislike for the new rule.

"Every player in this league has routines they do with their teammates, rituals they do before the game and before they walk on the floor," Oklahoma City all-star Kevin Durant told reporters. "The fans enjoy it. You see the fans mimicking the guys who do their stuff before the game. To cut that down really don't make no sense."

Among those players with longstanding pre-game rituals is Kevin Garnett, who spends time by himself at a stanchion underneath the basket near the Celtics bench.

"Guys have routines for years," Rivers said. "Fans enjoy the routines. You're taking something away . . . I just think another 30 seconds or a minute."

NBA veteran Jason Terry is among those who won't be impacted by the new rule, and he isn't overly concerned it will have much of an impact on his teammates or NBA players as a whole.

"Guys have to speed it up a little bit," Terry said. "It's all about making adjustments. It's one of those rules like they always put into this league. Once you get to about all-star break, they forget about it."

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

BOSTON –  Terry Rozier was having a rough stretch where his minutes were limited and when he did play, he didn’t play particularly well.
 
Among the voices in his ear offering words of encouragement was Avery Bradley who knows all too well what Rozier was going through.
 
For all his time as a Celtic, Bradley has let his work on the floor do the talking for him.
 
But as the most tenured Celtic on the roster, his leadership has to be about more than just getting the job done, but servicing as a vocal leader as well.
 
For a player whose growth from one year to the next has been a constant, being a more vocal leader has been the one dynamic of his game that has improved the most during this past season.
 
And it is that kind of leadership that will carry into the summer what is a pivotal offseason for both Bradley and this Celtics franchise which was eliminated by Cleveland in the Conference finals, the first time the Celtics got that deep in the playoffs since 2012.
 
He is entering the final year of the four-year, $32 million contract he signed in 2014. And it comes at a time when his fellow Tacoma, Wash. native and backcourt mate Isaiah Thomas will likely hit free agency where he’s expected to command a max or near-max contract that would pay him an annual salary in the neighborhood of $30 million.
 
At this point in time, Bradley isn’t giving too much thought to his impending contract status.
 
Instead, he’s more consumed by finding ways to improve his overall game and in doing so, help guide the Celtics to what has to be their focus for next season – a trip to the NBA Finals.
 
While Celtics players have said their focus has always been on advancing as far into the playoffs as possible, it wasn’t until this past season did they actually provide hope and promise that Banner 18 may be closer than you think.
 
It was an emotional time for the Celtics, dealing with the unexpected death of Chyna Thomas, the younger sister of Isaiah Thomas, just hours before Boston’s first playoff game this season.
 
And then there were injuries such as Thomas’ right hip strain that ended his postseason by halftime of Boston’s Eastern Conference finals matchup with Cleveland.
 
But through that pain, we saw the emergence of Bradley in a light we have seldom seen him in as a Celtic.
 
We have seen him play well in the past, but it wasn’t until Thomas’ injury did we see Bradley showcase even more elements of his game that had been overlooked.
 
One of the constant knocks on Bradley has been his ball-handling.
 
And yet there were a number of occasions following Thomas’ playoff-ending injury, where Bradley attacked defenders off the dribble and finished with lay-ups and an occasional dunk in transition.
 
Among players who appeared in at least 12 playoff games this year, only Washington’s John Wall (7.9), Cleveland’s LeBron James (6.8) and Golden State’s Stephen Curry (5.2) averaged more points in transition than Bradley (4.7).
 
Bradley recognized the team needed him to be more assertive, do things that forced him to be more front-and-center which is part of his evolution in Boston as a leader on this team.
 
“It’s weird but players like Al (Horford) definitely helped me get out of my shell and pushed me this year to be more of a vocal leader,” Bradley said.
 
And that talent combined with Bradley doing what he does every offseason – come back significantly better in some facet of his game – speaks to how he’s steadily growing into being a leader whose actions as well as his words are impactful.