West effective while Rondo rests


West effective while Rondo rests

By A. Sherrod Blakely

LOS ANGELES Delonte West is not a great shooter, passer, ball-handler or defender.

But when you add up how he fares in all those categories, there's no question West can be a difference-maker.

He certainly was on Saturday in helping the Boston Celtics defeat the Los Angeles Clippers, 99-92.

West finished with nine points, five assists and two steals.

More than the numbers, West provided a steadying force at the point position while Rajon Rondo rested on the bench.

Coach Doc Rivers sensed Rondo was a bit tired on Saturday, which meant West's role off the bench would be even more vital to the Celtics' success.

And while West can play both guard positions, the C's need him more now as a backup point.

He did a solid job against Clippers, but there's still plenty of room for him to improve.

"Just picking up the sets," Rivers said. "We have so many guys that have such a small library of our offense. We have to enhance that."

That will come with time and experience, two things West is sure to get more of now that Nate Robinson has been traded to Oklahoma City along with Kendrick Perkins.

West, who has played in just eight games this season, has the element of surprise going for him to some extent.

"I know I've been missing in action so much, I think guys forget I can play a little bit," West said. "That's the way I like to keep it, though."

Indeed, West's strength as an NBA player lies in the fact that he has the talent to contribute in a variety of ways and positions on the floor.

"I'm a jack of all trades," West said. "I do a lot of things good. Not maybe one thing great, but I do a lot of things good. When I come off the bench, I can see what's going on out there, just come in and fill in; fill in wherever we're lacking."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow 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.”