Celtics-Spurs preview: Celts expect a challenge

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Celtics-Spurs preview: Celts expect a challenge

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

The Boston Celtics will face one of their biggest tests this season when they battle the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. The Spurs hold the best record in the NBA, and the Celtics are ready for a challenge.

Shaquille ONeal
Theyre one of the best teams in the league and were going to have our hands full. Against a team like that, youve got to do everything right . . . They pose major challenges. We match up with them very well, they match up with us very well. The team that plays the hardest and gets all the loose balls and gets all the rebounds is the team thats probably going to win.
Ray Allen
We cant have a bad start. We cant come out and think that well get back in the game, or well kind of slow roll this into playing good basketball. Theyve got the best record in the league and for a reason. They play well at home and on the road. So we have to come out and we have to execute, weve got to know our personnel, and weve got to make sure we take away the easy stuff.

Nate Robinson
Theyre rolling. Theyre playing well. Ive watched a couple of their games and theyve got everybody clicking on all cylinders. Theyre just a team thats been together for a long time, and then theyve got a couple new pieces - Gary Neal knocking down the shot - youve got the Red Rocket Matt Bonner over there, hes knocking down shots, playing the way theyve been playing. The team chemistry is awesome. So a team like that coming in, weve just got to match their intensity and just play our game and well be fine.
Delonte West
Theyre one of those teams to beat. Theyre playing Spurs basketball, and theyre playing at their top level, a championship level. Itll be a good midseason test for us and for them also. But were not at full strength, I think they may not be, so depending on how many guys we have out there or whos going to be able to go, it might not be a strong indication of whos the better team right now. But its all still a good matchup for both teams . . . Ill be watching on the bench.

Marquis Daniels
Theyre a good team. They play hard and theyre rolling right now. Theyre doing a lot of great things . . . Its a good matchup for us. Weve just got to go out there and continue to do what weve been doing best -- getting after it on the defensive end, getting easy baskets.

Von Wafer
Its going to be a good game and Im excited because its going to tell us a lot about ourselves. Its a big measuring stick for what were trying to accomplish and what we need to work on. I think theyre going to expose any weaknesses we have, and thats a good thing so we can work on them and get them stronger.

Luke Harangody
I think just top to bottom, theyve got a deep squad. Theyve got a number of veteran players that know how to win. Theres a lot of other talk going on, but year after year the Spurs are a quality team, a playoff team.

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Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

WALTHAM, Mass. – As the final horn blew in Boston’s 108-98 win over Charlotte on Monday night, the game was a win-win kind of night for Avery Bradley.

The Celtics (26-15) continue rolling over opponents at the TD Garden, and he played a relatively pain-free 33 minutes in the win.

It was Bradley’s first game back after missing the previous four with a strained right Achilles injury.

And the fact that he was back on the practice floor on Tuesday (be it a light practice, mind you), bodes well for his injury being a thing of the past now.

“I felt good. It wasn’t sore at all in the game,” Bradley said. “I felt I was moving good. After the game I was a little sore and this morning, but otherwise I felt good.”

Despite Boston being 4-1 this season when Bradley doesn’t play, he has immense value to this Celtics team at both ends of the floor.

Offensively he has been Boston’s second-leading scorer most of this season and currently averages a career-high 17.7 points per game along with 6.9 rebounds which is also a career high.

And defensively, Bradley is coming off a season in which he was named to the NBA’s all-Defensive First Team for the first time.

Any questions or concerns about the Achilles affecting his play defensively were put to rest Monday night when he put the defensive clamps on Nicolas Batum who missed nine of his 11 shots from the field while primarily being guarded by Bradley.

Now his offense, that’s another story.

Bradley failed to reach double digits scoring for the first time this season as he missed seven of his nine shots on Monday to finish with just five points.

But part of that had to do with Bradley passing up shots he normally takes, as well as him missing some he normally knocks down.

Considering his lay-off and the rhythm his teammates have been in shooting the ball in his absence, Bradley wisely decided to get his defensive bearings on track and gradually bring his offensive game around. 

“I have to get my (shooting) rhythm back,” said Bradley who is making a career-best 40.9 percent of his 3-pointers this season. “I’m fine. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”