Notes: Celtics dug a hole too deep


Notes: Celtics dug a hole too deep

By JessicaCamerato

BOSTON - Giving up 30 points in the first quarter is never a good way to start a game.

Giving up another 30 in the second, well, thats just digging a hole thats challenging to climb out of.

The Boston Celtics gave up 60 first-half points to the Los Angeles Clippers during Wednesday nights 108-103 loss and found themselves down by 18 at halftime.

Doc Rivers thought Celtics were behind on everything to start the game, but told his team during halftime that they could get back in the game.

The problem was, the Clippers werent going to back down. Even though the Celtics outscored the Clippers in the second half, that initial deficit was too much to overcome.

Its tough when you get out to bad starts, and a lot of that has to do with the starters, said Paul Pierce. How we come out at the beginning of the games, weve got to come out with a better focus. Once you give a team confidence like the Clippers, then they feed off that for the rest of the game and were able to get
the win.

All Rivers wanted was one more healthy big man. Just one.

But theres no such luck on the Celtics, who are playing without Shaquille ONeal, Jermaine ONeal, and Glen Davis.

The Clippers exploited this void and took advantage of their own size, getting 21 points and 9 rebounds from center DeAndre Jordan.

Just one extra big is all we needed, said Rivers. But we dont have it with injury. This has nothing to do with the trade or anything - we just dont have healthy bigs. Hopefully Baby will be back soon.

It didnt have the same flair as last seasons playoff games between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers, but Mo Williams was excited nonetheless.

The former Cavalier, who was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers last month, still looked forward to playing against the Celtics on Wednesday night.

This was the team, after all, that had sent him packing two out of the past three seasons.

He got his revenge in the form of a regular season win. Williams led all players with 28 points, including five three-pointers, while dishing four assists and grabbing three rebounds.

For some reason I just love the battles Ive had in Boston, he said. I always get up for this game. I was up for this game today.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

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.