Celtics' Bradley working on his game in Vegas


Celtics' Bradley working on his game in Vegas

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn

LAS VEGAS If Avery Bradley wasn't here, he would be somewhere working on his body, working on his game.

You look at the names of players participating in the Impact Basketball Training Series this week, and there's not a single soul here without something to prove.

Bradley is no different.

A former first-round pick who has played sparingly after two seasons in the NBA, Bradley is optimistic this will be his breakout season.

Day 1 was a decent start for Bradley, who had 16 points. But it wasn't enough for the win, as Bradley's team lost 102-86, with the winning team being led by Detroit's Austin Daye, who had 30 points and 10 rebounds.

"It's hard to play, because we're all guards for the most part out here, but it was fun," he said. "We're all out here having fun, trying to get in shape; get in better shape. We're having fun."

The next couple of weeks are just building blocks, he says, in his preparation for the upcoming NBA season. And while the labor stalemate has put the start of the season in limbo, it has had little impact on Bradley or his plans for next season - whenever that season begins.

For the past couple of years, Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge have preached patience, telling him that his time to play will come eventually.

Bradley has gone along with the plan.

The NBA is big on potential -- that'll get you in. But if you want to stick around, sooner or later, you have to produce.

For Bradley, that time is now. And that time is spent in this sweat box known as Las Vegas, working diligently to chisel out his frame and his game.

"That's what I'm doing, little things like this," Bradley told CSNNE.com. "I can come out, try and get better all the time."

And he's doing it against a nice mix of young and not-so-young NBA players, including good friend Isaiah Thomas, who was the last player drafted in June's NBA draft.

On Monday, the 5-foot-9 Thomas led the Purple team to a 90-81 win with 28 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Thomas played with Bradley afterward, and had 26 points and 7 assists.

"We play pick-up basketball all the time," said Bradley who, like Thomas, is from the Seattle area. "We're just trying to get each other better."

For Bradley, part of that improvement centers around filling whatever role the Celtics need for him to play. Up to this point in his career, he has been a seldom-used, high energy guy. Bradley is out to show that there's more - a lot more - to his game.

From the day the C's used the No. 19 pick in the 2009 NBA draft to select Bradley, Rivers said he had the tools to defend at the NBA level immediately. But Bradley - who at one point was the No. 1 high school player in the country - also has the ability to score, something he showed flashes of on Monday.

"Once I learn to do that with the Celtics, I'll be fine," Bradley said. "I think everything will be easier for me."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

Stars, studs and duds: Stevens shows confidence in Brown


Stars, studs and duds: Stevens shows confidence in Brown

Jaylen Brown made a costly turnover in the final minute that contributed to Boston’s 105-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls.

The fact that he was even in the game at that point speaks to not just his potential, but the level of confidence the rookie has already garnered from the Boston Celtics coaching staff.

Brown, who had nine points on 4-for-7 shooting on Thursday, turned the ball over with less than a minute to play and the Celtics trailing 101-99 at the time.

Moments after the turnover, Chicago’s Dwyane Wade drained a step-back 3-pointer that sealed the Bulls’ victory.

Disappointed with the game’s outcome, Brown acknowledged that it meant a lot to him for Stevens to have enough confidence in him to keep him on the floor down the stretch.

But with that faith comes added pressure for Brown to come through and deliver.

“It means I have to do better and try and execute for my team and earn everything I get,” Brown told reporters after the game. “I don’t want anything given to me just because I’m the number three pick in the draft.”

Stevens was asked about having Brown on the floor in the game’s closing seconds.

“He (Brown) was playing pretty well and I thought we were better off playing small,” Stevens said. “I wanted to keep Jaylen in there. I thought he did a lot of good things tonight.”

“Obviously that play didn’t go his way,” Stevens said.

On the play in question, Brown was matched up with Chicago’s Nikola Mirotic. Brown began to make a move, and eventually spun away from Mirotic and left his feet.

Brown was called for the turnover when he left his feet to make a pass, but didn’t release the ball until after he had landed – a traveling violation.

“I was looking for an outlet,” said Brown in explaining his late-game miscue. “I should have just shot the ball but I was thinking it was a bad shot. I probably should have just shot it. I just saw Mirotic on me, slower feet. Coach (Stevens) told me to drive him so I tried to be aggressive. I should have made a play.”

Brown added, “Just have to come out and execute, and play the game the right way. I want to make coach feel like he has a reason to put me out on the floor.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Thursday night’s game.



Dwyane Wade

The Chicago native gave his family and friends plenty to cheer about on Thursday. In his first game playing for his hometown Chicago Bulls, Wade had 22 points which included a back-breaking 3-pointer with 26 seconds to play that pretty much sealed the Bulls victory. Consider this: He made a total of seven 3-pointers all last season. He had four on Thursday.

Isaiah Thomas

For the second straight game, Thomas tallied 25 points and continued to shoot the ball extremely well. His 25 points on Thursday came on 10-for-15 shooting. He also had four assists and three rebounds.

Jimmy Butler

Butler was among the Chicago players who shot the ball much, much better from 3-point range than they usually do. He finished with a team-high 24 points which included him knocking down four of his six 3-point attempts.



Avery Bradley

Bradley provided a nice offensive complement to Thomas’ high scoring night, finishing with 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. Bradley also made his presence felt on the boards and as a distributor with six rebounds and five assists.

Nikola Mirotic

He may have lost out on a starting job to Taj Gibson, but Mirotic’s value to the Bulls is clear. Mirotic had 15 points off the bench, shooting 6-for-11 from the field in addition to nine rebounds.



Second-chance points

Boston’s only two games into the season, but second-chance points looks to be an issue with no clear-cut solution. For the second straight game, Boston was outscored by double digits in second-chance points. On Thursday, Chicago had an 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.