Injury update: Centers down, Robinson probable

Injury update: Centers down, Robinson probable

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

WALTHAM It's a good thing Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, stockpiled all those centers this summer.

Because as the injuries continue to pile up for Boston's big men, their return isn't coming about as expected.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers was optimistic that both Semih Erden and Shaquille O'Neal would have been back in time for Thursday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Not only will they miss tomorrow's game against the Miami Heat, but Rivers expects them to be out even when the team regroups after the all-star break.

They join fellow center Jermaine O'Neal, who recently had surgery on his left knee that will sideline him until late-March or early April.

"Semih's out until after the break, and Shaq will be too," Rivers said. "We don't know if they'll be back (right) after the break, right now."

Erden is suffering from a groin injury that has been among the ailments he has played through most of this season.

O'Neal has had a number of issues with his right leg, the latest involves a right Achilles injury that has kept him out of Boston's last seven games.

"Semih, his groin is not improving," Rivers said. "And Shaq's Achilles is not improving at all. Obviously, we thought we'd have them both back by the last game. But that's fine. We're good."

Their absence means the Celtics are rely even more on starters Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins, while also looking to get more production from Glen Davis and rookie Luke Harangody who are the team's only two other big men.

Boston's Nate Robinson, who left in the second quarter of Thursday's game against the Lakers with a bruised right knee injury, will try and play tomorrow.

He told CSNNE.com following the Lakers game that he planned to have an MRI taken on Friday. However, Ainge told CSNNE.com Friday evening that Robinson was not going to have an MRI performed.

"I'm just getting treatment now," said Robinson, who added that he would play with a knee brace tomorrow.

Robinson usually wears shin guards when he plays, "so I got to do a little (Rajon) Rondo look for now. But the knee thing, it feels weird."

He was talking about the brace, but he could have easily have been talking about his knee which was still giving him problems less than 24 hours before tip-off against the Miami Heat.

The injury occurred when Robinson's knee collided with Lakers guard Shannon Brown's knee following a Robinson shot attempt.

There was no swelling, but Robinson said, "the pain in there is kind of funky right now. So we're just icing it."

Robinson said he has no trouble walking, but it's running and jumping that remain issues.

He said he won't plan to try and do that until tomorrow.

"I'm just going to go in here and get treatment," said Robinson, who spent most of Friday at the practice facility receiving treatments.

Even if Robinson plays, he won't be at full strength - which essentially has been the story of this season for the Celtics.

"We just have to find a way to win, regardless of who goes down," Robinson said. "That's why it's called a team. It's not just one guy. Guys play through injuries. Just keep fighting through it; we'll be alright."

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

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics put on defensive clinic in second half

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics put on defensive clinic in second half

This season the Boston Celtics have shown flashes for a few minutes here and there that they were an elite team defensively. 
 
But what they did in the second half to the Orlando?
 
Boston (13-9) put on a defensive clinic that overwhelmed the Magic on every level imaginable as the Celtics cruised to a 117-87 thumping of Orlando.
 
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has been even-keeled when it comes to discussing his team’s play, win or lose. 
 
But even he couldn’t contain how pleased he was to see the way his players defended in the third and fourth quarters. 
 
“On defense, the second half was as good as we’ve guarded all year,” Stevens told reporters afterwards. “Really focused, really urgent. I felt good about that.”
 
Setting the tone for the Celtics was Avery Bradley who certainly was impressive with his scoring. 
 
But as much as he knew the team would need a boost offensively with Isaiah Thomas (right groin) out, that wasn’t his approach to the game. 
 
“I had a defensive mindset coming into tonight’s game,” Bradley told CSN’s Abby Chin following the win. “Just trying to get my teammates to playing the right way so we could come out and get the ‘W’ tonight. I’m happy with how all the guys played. We all played hard, and we played as a team.”
 
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Wednesday night’s game.
 

STARS
 
Avery Bradley

Bradley picked up the scoring with Isaiah Thomas (right groin) out for Wednesday, leading the team with a game-high 23 points to go with four rebounds and three assists.
 
 
STUDS

Jaylen Brown

Arguably the biggest spark off the bench for Boston, Brown had one of his best games as a Celtic. He finished with 13 points which included a dunk over Nikola Vucevic that quieted the Amway Center crowd and just as important, provided a nice energy boost for Boston.
 
D.J. Augustin

He had the hot hand at the end of the second quarter, but was a non-factor in the second half as Augustin finished with 15 points – all of which came in the first half. 
 
Terry Rozier

This was a great confidence-booster for Rozier as well as his teammates to see him have a big game and make the most of his increased opportunity to play. He finished with a career-high 16 points off the Celtics bench on 6-for-13 shooting with five rebounds.
 
Nikola Vucevic

It doesn’t matter if he starts or comes off the bench. Vucevic is always a double-double threat on the floor. He finished with 12 points off the bench along with 10 rebounds for his 13th double-double this season. 
 

DUDS
 
Orlando second half defense

The Celtics got pretty much whatever they wanted, when they wanted it in the second half against the Magic defense which pulled a major disappearing act. Boston shot 61 percent from the field in the second half, and 45.4 percent from 3-point range. 
 

Bradley steps up to lead Celtics to 117-87 blowout win over Magic

Bradley steps up to lead Celtics to 117-87 blowout win over Magic

It was one of Tacoma, Washington’s finest carrying the scoring load most of Wednesday night for the Boston Celtics. 
 
But it wasn’t the Celtics’ leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas. 
 
It was his backcourt mate and fellow Tacoma, Wash. native Avery Bradley picking up the slack in Thomas’ absence as Boston pulled away in the second half for a 117-87 blowout win over the Orlando Magic. 
 
Wednesday’s victory was Boston’s first in Orlando since Nov. 8, 2013. 
 
Bradley led seven double-figure scorers for Boston (13-9), with a team-high 23 points.
 
Thomas missed his first game of the season with a right groin injury that will sideline him for a yet-to-be-determined period of time. 
 
The 5-foot-9 guard ranks among the NBA’s leaders in scoring (26.0) in addition to leading the Celtics in assists (6.2) per game. 
 
But Bradley was up to the challenge of filling the void left by Thomas, which isn’t all that surprising when you consider the game was away from the TD Garden. 
 
Bradley has been good this year, but has really stood out in road games where he has averaged 19.0 points on 51.4 percent shooting from the field compared to 15.8 points on 41.3 percent shooting at the TD Garden. 
 
The first half was a tightly contested game with neither team leading by more than eight points. 
 
After Orlando scored the first basket of the third quarter, the Celtics went on a furious 18-2 run to lead 67-54 which had five different scorers for Boston that spoke volumes about the balanced offensive attack the Celtics came with to make up for Thomas’ absence. 
 
Boston’s defense picked up its intensity in the second half, but just as important was the renewed emphasis on ball movement that was simple, crisp and highly effective. 
 
And it came against an Orlando team that came in having won four of its last five games – all on the road – which included beating the always-challenging San Antonio Spurs on their home floor. 
 
But as important as it was for Bradley to help fill the enormous scoring void that exists without Thomas, Boston also needed a strong game from their bench. 
 
That’s exactly what they got, and it wasn’t just one or two guys, either. 
 
Jaylen Brown had arguably the best game of his still-young NBA career coming off the Celtics bench, finishing with 13 points which included a powerful, rim-rattling dunk over Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic
 
Boston also got great play out of Terry Rozier (career-high 16 points, five rebounds) who saw a few more minutes than usual because of Thomas’ injury. 
 
Not only was the victory important to pad the win total, but it also provides a nice boost of confidence for the Celtics as they hit what will be arguably the most difficult stretch of the season in terms of quality opponents. 
 
The Celtics have 12 games remaining this month, with the teams having a combined record of 152-105, or a winning percentage of .591.