Celtics notebook: Wall has room to grow

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Celtics notebook: Wall has room to grow

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

WASHINGTON It's weird to see Rajon Rondo out there as the poised veteran playmaker.

But on nights like this, it's obvious.

Yes, John Wall got the win in leading the Wizards to an 85-83 victory over the Boston Celtics.

And Wall, who had 16 points and four assists, is indeed a player on the rise in the NBA.

There's little doubt that someday, he'll be among the NBA's top point guards with Rondo, Deron Williams of Utah, New Orleans' Chris Paul and Chicago's Derrick Rose.

But his time to shine at that level, isn't now.

He came up with a slew of big plays down the stretch for the Wizards.

But he also made his share of mistakes that allowed the Celtics to have a fighter's chance down the stretch when, truth be told, Boston's play should have not afforded them such a luxury.

Paul Pierce's potential game-winning shot was set up by Rondo stripping the ball from Wall.

That was one of four turnovers by Wall, who has spent most of this season ranked among the NBA's leaders in turnovers.

Still, the more you watch him play, it's clear that he will a player to watch for many years to come.

"He's going to be a great young point guard, if he continues to work on his game and stay humble," Rondo said. "He has a bright future ahead of him."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers agrees.

"He plays hard. he's aggressive," Rivers said. "He's got a great step and speed, and he's competitive. He plays far beyond his age."

West on the mend

C's guard Delonte West was with the Celtics in Washington, yet another example of his return being sooner rather than later.

Injured players don't normally start to travel with the team unless they are relatively close to returning to action.

"There's still a lot of stiffness in the wrist," West told CSNNE.com. "But it's getting better and better everyday. That's the only way I can explain it."

Boston has had a number of games this season in which the use of West would have been helpful.

Saturday's loss to the Wizards was one of those games.

Rajon Rondo had 13 points and nine assists, but he spend significant stretches of the game on the bench with foul trouble.

And his replacement, Nate Robinson, had his struggles scoring (six points on 3-for-8 shooting).

West said as badly as he wants to be out there, he's not trying to rush back too soon.

"When I come back, I want to be back, ready to help this team win games," he said. "I'm patient; trying to be, at least."

Odds and ends

Semih Erden, starting in place of Shaquille O'Neal (right hip), had six points and a career-high 11 rebounds. It is the second time in as many nights that the 7-foot rookie from Turkey set a career high. In Boston's win over Utah on Friday, Erden had a career-high 14 points. Andray Blatche picked up a technical foul for shoving Kevin Garnett. It was yet another game in which Blatche allowed Garnett to get into his head, and lead him to doing something foolish. Ray Allen made a pair of 3-pointers on Saturday. He now has 2,537 made 3-pointers, and needs 24 to pass Reggie Miller (2,560) for the NBA's all-time lead in that category.

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

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

WALTHAM, Mass. – The right Achilles’ strain that has kept Avery Bradley out of five of the Celtics’ past six games, will continue to keep the 6-foot-2 guard sidelined.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will not play Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
 
Stevens added that no additional tests have been taken and the Achilles’ itself is structurally fine.
 
“He’s got a lot of soreness around it, and that’s one of those things you have to be ultra-careful with,” said Stevens, who later added that Bradley would not practice with the team today. “When he [Bradley] came back, he said he felt a lot better, and then he played and the next day he practiced. We didn’t do anything live but he did a lot of cutting and did not feel near as good. That’s why he didn’t play Wednesday.”
 
The absence of Bradley was clearly felt in a 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, a game in which Knicks guard Derrick Rose – the man Bradley would have likely spent defending most of the game – scored 30 points.
 
This season, all-NBA first team defender is  the Celtics’ No. 2 scorer at 17 points per game along with averaging a team-best 6.9 rebounds.
 
In addition, Bradley is shooting a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range, as well as dishing out 2.4 assists per game, which also represents a career-high for the 26-year-old.


 

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

WALTHAM, Mass. – To dunk or not to dunk with the best in the NBA?
 
That is the question Celtics rookie forward Jaylen Brown is grappling with these days.
 
The 6-foot-7 Brown confirmed that he has been invited to be part of the league’s Slam Dunk competition at All-Star weekend, but hasn’t made up his mind as to whether he will participate.
 
Brown said he’ll likely make a decision about it sometime this weekend.
 
While he certainly understands that is indeed an honor for any player to be asked to participate in All-Star weekend, Brown said his trepidation about being part of the slam dunk competition has a lot to do with its potential impact on his body and how that may affect his ability to recharge over the weekend and get ready to finish out his rookie season strong.
 
If he decided to enter the contest, he would be facing some really stiff competition from last year’s winner Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, whose battle last season put their slam dunk competition among the best ever.
 
Facing tough competition is not something that concerns Brown.
 
“I’m not worried about anybody or anything,” Brown said. “I think I have a lot to offer. Just like your rookie year, your body and everything … it’s a lot. All those dunks, they look cool but it takes a toll on your body for sure. I want to put myself in the best position to help the team.”
 
While his focus has been on the Celtics, Brown acknowledged he has been getting a few tips on the competition from teammate Gerald Green, who is also a former Slam Dunk champion.
 
“[Gerald] Green has been coaching me up, giving me a lot of good ideas I wouldn’t have thought on my own,” Brown said. “If I do decide to do it, it’ll be some stuff [nobody] has seen before.”