Shorthanded Celtics fall to Nuggets, 89-75


Shorthanded Celtics fall to Nuggets, 89-75

By A.Sherrod Blakely

DENVER The Boston Celtics have got this playing short-handed thing down to a science.

Just when it seems that they can't possibly play with fewer bodies, you have games like Thursday night's in which the C's trotted out eight players -- no, make that nine when you throw in D-League call-up Chris Johnson.

The lack of bodies, courtesy of Danny Ainge trading away a third of the team's roster, eventually proved to be too big a hurdle for the Celtics to overcome as the Denver Nuggets pulled away in the game's closing minutes for an 89-75 win.

Paul Pierce led all Celtics with 17 points, but he did it on 7-for-18 shooting. Denver was led by Kenyon Martin's game-high 18 points.

For the better part of three quarters, the C's played an inspired brand of basketball, which was surprising when you consider how down in the dumps they were prior to tip-off.

The C's were clearly saddened by all of the trades, with the one making the most impact being Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson being shipped to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green (a former Celtics draft pick) and Nenad Krstic.

Boston also traded rookies Semih Erden and Luke Harangody to Cleveland for a future second-round pick. In addition, Marquis Daniels was traded to Sacramento along with cash, for a second-round pick.

It was indeed an emotionally draining day for the Celtics, who did not learn about the trades until shortly after the team's morning shoot-around.

Disappointed, the Celtics knew they had to move on regardless of how much it hurt to no longer play with guys that they had grown close to.

"It hurts. I ain't gonna lie," Perkins told after learning that he was traded. "There's a lot of love in that locker room, for sure."

But that love only goes so far.

Because when all is said and done, the game's have to go on.

"At the end of the day, we gotta remember," said Boston's Delonte West. "We're professionals and this is part of the game."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

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.”