Notes: Erden out, Bradley returns

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Notes: Erden out, Bradley returns

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Avery Bradley, sporting scruffy facial hair and a mini-afro, is back with the Boston Celtics.

It's good to have a day free of talking about injuries involving the Boston Celtics . . . oh wait . . . not another one!

Prior to Monday night's game against the Bobcats, the Celtics announced that center Semih Erden is the latest player to be shelved with an injury.

The 7-foot rookie, who has started seven games this season, has a right adductor strain.

Erden, who has been hampered by groin issues all season, has an injury similar to one that forced Shaquille O'Neal to miss some action earlier this season.

Speaking of O'Neal, he, too, was out Mionday night's game. Rivers is contemplating having O'Neal sit out until after the All-Star break.

Without Erden and O'Neal -- not to mention Jermaine O'Neal, who recently had surgery on his left knee and will be out until sometime in late March or early April -- the C's are becoming increasingly thin in the frontcourt.

That means the C's will lean heavily on starters Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins and key sub Glen Davis, to contribute on the boards.

Boston's depth took another blow Sunday afternoon when Marquis Daniels suffered a bruised spinal cord injury that will sideline him for 1-2 months.

Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, said the plan now is to allow Daniels to simply rest his body.

"We'll have an update on Marquis in about a week or so," Ainge said.

To fill the roster spot left by Daniels, the Celtics brought Bradley back from the Development League.

The C's first-round pick from last June told CSNNE.com he had no idea what role, if any, he would play Monday night. And, in actuality, he had no role; he didn't play in the team's 94-89 loss.

Truth be told, he was just happy to make it to the arena on time.

Bradley flew from North Dakota, and arrived in the wee hours of Monday morning.

"It was tough," said Bradley, who appeared in nine games (six starts) with the Maine Red Claws of the D-League. "But it was a good experience down there. I felt I was getting better for my team. Not only that, but some of those guys down there, they were helping me to get better and I was helping them."

As far as playing, Bradley said his mantra is no different now than it was prior to his D-League stint.

"Whatever they need me to do, I'm ready to do my best," Bradley said. "I'm ready."

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

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

BOSTON – Prior to Saturday’s game, Terry Rozier talked to CSNNE.com about the importance of staying ready always, because “you never know when your name or number is going to be called.”

Like when trailing by three points in the fourth quarter with less than 10 seconds to play?

Yes, Rozier was on the floor in that scenario and the second-year guard delivered when his team needed it.

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But Rozier’s fourth quarter heroics which forced overtime against Portland, did not provide that much-needed jolt that Boston needed as the Blazers managed to fend off the Celtics in overtime, 127-123.

For Rozier’s part, he had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

The 15 points scored for Rozier was the most for him since he tallied 16 in a 30-point Celtics win at Orlando on Dec. 7.

But more than the points, the decision by head coach Brad Stevens to draw up a play for him in that moment, a time when most of what Boston does revolves around the shooting of Isaiah Thomas who has been among the top-3 scorers in the fourth quarter most of this season, was surprising to many.

And at that point in the game, Thomas already had 13 fourth-quarter points.

Stevens confirmed after the game that the last shot in the fourth was indeed for Rozier, but Thomas’ presence on the floor was important to its execution.

“He (Thomas) also draws a lot of attention,” Stevens said. “So I think you just weigh kind of … what kind of shot you’re going to get, depending on who it is.”

Rozier had initially screened for Thomas, and Thomas came back and screened for him.

“I was open as soon as I caught … and I let it fly,” Rozier said. “Coach drew up a play for me and it felt good to see the ball go in.”

Being on the floor at that time, win or lose, was a victory of sorts for Rozier.

He has seen first-hand how quickly the tide can change in the NBA for a young player.

After a strong summer league showing and a solid training camp, Rozier had earned himself a firm spot in the team’s regular rotation.

But a series of not-so-great games coupled with Gerald Green’s breakout night on Christmas Day, led to his playing time since then becoming more sporadic.

Rozier, in an interview with CSNNE.com, acknowledged it hasn’t been easy going from playing regular minutes to not being sure how much court time, if any, he would receive.

But he says the veterans on the team have been good about keeping his spirits up, and one in particular – Avery Bradley – has been especially helpful.

Like Rozier, Bradley’s first couple of years saw his playing time go from non-existent to inconsistent. But Bradley stayed the course and listened to the team’s veterans who continued to tell him that his hard work would pay off sooner or later.

Those same words of wisdom Bradley received in his early days, he passes on to Rozier.

“It’s big,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “He (Bradley) tells me things like that. I felt I was ready for this (inconsistent minutes) after all that he told me. It’s big to have a guy like him that has been through it all with a championship team, been around this organization for a while; have him talk to you is big. It’s always good. That’s why I stay positive, and be ready.”

Which is part of the reason why Stevens didn’t hesitate to call up a play for the second-year guard despite him being a 33.3 percent shooter from 3-point range this season – that ranks eighth on this team, mind you.

“He’s a really good shooter,” Stevens said of Rozier. “I think with more opportunity that will show itself true, but he made some big ones in the fourth quarter. We went to him a few different times out of time-outs, and felt good about him making that one.”

And to know that Stevens will turn to him not just to spell Thomas or one of the team’s other guards, but to actually make a game-altering play in the final seconds … that’s major.

“It helps tremendously,” said Rozier who added that his confidence is through “the roof. It makes me want to do everything. You know defense, all of that. It’s great, especially to have a guy like Brad trust you."