House not sentimental about Celtics

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House not sentimental about Celtics

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

MIAMI Eddie House has lots of love for his former Boston Celtics teammates.

It goes beyond simply being on the same roster.

They have the kind of bond that can never be broken, the kind forged with the blood, sweat and tears that come about through winning an NBA title.

But House plays for the Miami Heat now.

There's a time to be brothers, he says.

Now?

It ain't that time, people.

"We got plenty of time, the rest of our lives to be friends," House told CSNNE.com following Miami's practice on Friday. "But when we're out on that court . . . (expletive) 'em."

As talented as both teams are, there's no love lost between these two.

Boston eliminated the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs last year.

LeBron James, now with the Heat, played for Cleveland last season and he, too, was ousted by the Celtics.

It was the second time in the past three years that James' season ended at the hands of the Celtics.

Having one team continue to beat you in the games that matter most, repeatedly, certainly brings about some animosity.

That animosity, wrapped around both teams fighting for the right to move on in the playoffs, will make this one of the more closely-watched, contentious playoff series to date.

"They're gonna come out just how we are, guns blazing, throwing punches," House said. "We know they're not going to back down. I think they know we're not going to back down if that last game was an indication of it."

In their last regular season game, a 23-point Heat route, Boston's Jermaine O'Neal (he played for Miami last year) and James were separated by teammates for both after O'Neal delivered a hard foul on James that James didn't appreciate.

"That play was what it was," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said at the time. "I thought it was all theatrical, all that crap. That stuff . . . I guess that's called toughness these days. Two guys run into each other. I guess we gotta call that a flagrant foul, which I thought that was a joke. I thought the reaction by both was a joke. Don't even get me started on that crap."

Regardless, this series is expected to be a physical one between two teams that it seems all season, were on a crash course with one another to meet in the playoffs.

House said he came to Miami because he felt that he could help them win an NBA title.

But to to that, he said, a series with the Celtics was inevitable.

"To accomplish our goals, you're going to have to go through Boston at some point," House reasoned. "You're gonna have to see them. We haven't done anything yet, and they've done a whole lot of stuff. We know we gotta go through them to get where we're going."

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

Avery Bradley hopes to take next step on D: Defensive Player of the Year

Avery Bradley hopes to take next step on D: Defensive Player of the Year

WALTHAM, Mass. – Prior to Friday night’s Green and White Scrimmage, Celtics coach Brad Stevens made a point of having Avery Bradley honored for being named to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team.
 
It was a good feeling and an award that Bradley is extremely proud of accomplishing.
 
But he wants more.
 
First-team All-Defense is nice.
 
Defensive Player of the Year?
 
Even better.
 
Prior to Saturday’s practice, Bradley’s case for being in contention for such a lofty award stems from him consistently being among the better perimeter defenders in the NBA.
 
On most game nights, Bradley is usually assigned whichever guard is the more potent scorer.
 
And in that role, Bradley has been able to establish himself as one of the toughest matchups players will face from a defender, all season.

But as good as Bradley may be as an individual defender, he knows any praise or accolades for what he does has to come with the knowledge that his teammates have also elevated their play defensively, too.
 
“Like I said, it’s hand-in-hand with how you play as an individual and your team success,” Bradley said. “How far we can go this year, hopefully I can show and the rest of my teammates can show how good we are on defense.”
 
One of the reasons Bradley was able to garner enough votes to be named to the league’s First-team defense, is due to the ringing endorsements he received from various players throughout the league.
 
Two of Bradley’s biggest supporters are Portland’s explosive backcourt tandem of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.

After Boston’s 116-109 loss at Portland on March 31, McCollum tweeted out that Avery Bradley was “the best perimeter defender in the league” and added, “I don’t think it’s close.”
 
In Boston’s loss to Portland, Lillard had 14 points on 3-for-16 shooting while McCollum had 17 points on 8-for-19 shooting.
 
“Hopefully the entire NBA can believe that I’m one of the best defenders,” Bradley said.
 
 

Young one of the 'tough decisions' facing Celtics

Young one of the 'tough decisions' facing Celtics

BOSTON – Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge have conversations all the time on a wide range of topics which includes but is certainly not limited to, the Celtics players.
 
On Saturday morning the two were discussing James Young, one of the players whose future with the Green team is anything but a certainty at this point.
 
Part of the challenge in evaluating Young is that unlike most first-round picks, getting on the floor to play – big minutes in the D-League don’t count – has not been easy.
 
“He hasn’t gotten a chance to play as much as other guys and that’s hard,” Stevens said prior to Saturday’s practice.  “We see the progress here, we see the growth here. We’ll just keep chipping away.”
 
Young, drafted with the 17th overall pick in 2014, has appeared in 60 games while averaging 2.2 points, 1.1 rebounds while shooting 34.1 percent from the field and 25 percent on 3s in 8.9 minutes per game.
 
Of the 13 players drafted after Young in the first round of 2014 draft, seven have appeared in more games with nine having a higher minutes played per game average.  
 
But here’s where Young’s situation sets himself apart from the others. Five of the seven players drafted after him who have appeared in more games have never seen action in the postseason  compared to Young, who has played for nothing but playoff teams in Boston.
 
That distinction speaks volumes as to why the Celtics will be hard-pressed to make the right call when it comes to deciding Young’s fate.

“We’ve got some tough decisions at the end of the month,” Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, told Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn at the Celtics' Green and White scrimmage, which was livestreamed on CSNNE.com. “We have about five guys fighting for two spots.”
 
Young is well aware of the precarious position he’s in at camp.
 
“I haven’t been thinking much about it,” he told CSNNE.com. “I know the system very well. It’s just about playing basketball. That’s the main thing; just try to contribute.”

To Young’s credit, he did a lot of nice things on Friday that didn’t show up in the final stats but were instrumental in him being a positive contributor while on the floor. There were the deflected passes which slowed the White team down from getting into their offense quickly. He had a steal, attacked the paint and made the right pass in one sequence which led to another good pass and then a lay-up for a teammate aka the “hockey assist.” And defensively, he was solid throughout his time on the floor.
 
Said Young: “I’m just playing for the team and be myself and not let things weigh on my head; just go out and play basketball, do what I need to.”
 
In doing so, Young would create more than just a spot on the roster for himself but potentially a role off the bench.
 
And doing that would lead Ainge and Stevens into having a very different kind of conversation when it comes to Young.