West out, big minutes expected for Rondo


West out, big minutes expected for Rondo

By A.Sherrod Blakely

SALT LAKE CITY We're used to seeing Rajon Rondo play major minutes for the Boston Celtics.

He might not have a choice tonight.

Rondo's backup, Delonte West, is out with a sprained right ankle injury. Celtics coach Doc Rivers said West probably won't play against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, either.

Rivers quipped about asking members of the media to serve as Rondo's backup tonight against the Jazz.

Actually, rookie Avery Bradley will get that assignment.

"Avery will be the first guy," Rivers said. "If not, we'll go with some type of big lineup. We've come up with all kinds; but we're hoping that Avery can do it."

The first round pick out of Texas last June has had a rocky start to his rookie season.

Injuries sidelined him for long stretches of this season, but those setbacks appear to be a thing of the past now.

In an earlier interview with CSNNE.com, Bradley said the lack of playing time this season has only made him hungrier to get on the floor and show what he can do.

"But I'm learning so much from the veterans on this team," Bradley told CSNNE.com. "I know I'm getting better even if I'm not playing that much."

One of the reasons Rivers feels comfortable with playing Bradley, is because of his ability to hold his own as a defender against NBA talent.

"Defensively, he's an NBA player," Rivers said. "Offensively, he still has to learn the position. Avery has never really been a point guard."

At 6-foot-3, Bradley is combo guard who will play both backcourt positions for the Celtics.

Despite his ability to defend, Rivers knows it won't be easy for him.

"We're asking a lot of a rookie point guard to try and come out on this floor with our guys and run the team, but that's what he has to do," Rivers said. "We just have to give him enough help on the floor, to help him out."

For Rivers, this will be yet another teachable moment for Bradley who has embraced the veterans around him and the knowledge they have been willing to pass on to him.

"I really like the kid," said Celtics Paul Pierce. "I see how he works. He soaks up so much in practice. You can see him wanting to get better. He's always asking questions. He's always in the huddle; just little things that we see; we know this kid is going to be a player. It's just about getting more time and experience."

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

Celtics-Bulls preview: C's quickly turn page to new-look Bulls


Celtics-Bulls preview: C's quickly turn page to new-look Bulls

BOSTON – Change is an inevitable when it comes to NBA rosters.

Just as the Boston Celtics significantly altered the outlook many had for them this season by signing Al Horford to a four-year, $113 million contract, they face a Chicago Bulls team tonight that has also undergone significant change.

The Bulls traded away one favorite son (Derrick Rose) and went about adding another in Dwyane Wade.

In addition to Wade, Chicago also signed former Celtic All-Star Rajon Rondo to join a team headlined by All-Star guard Jimmy Butler.

As easy as it could have been to worry about the struggles they had in disposing of the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, the Celtics knew they had to immediately turn the page and shift their focus towards a Chicago Bulls team that’s looking to start its season with a quality win over the Celtics.

“They’re a good team. They have great players over there,” said Jae Crowder. “They’re trying to figure it out. They’re going to be very excited to play of course. We have to take care of business, play the way we want to play and impose our will even more.”

One of the keys to knocking off the Bulls will be to get better play from their second unit.

Boston’s backups were outscored 58-40 but more significant than that was their inability to hold off the late-charging Nets which forced head coach Brad Stevens to bring his starters back on to the floor with about two minutes to play.

Among the reasons contributing to the bench’s ineffective play on Wednesday was the fact that Marcus Smart (left ankle sprain) was out.

Remember, Smart has been with the second unit for all of training camp minus the second half of their 121-96 preseason loss to the New York Knicks.

Crowder believes not having Smart, who will be out for another week or so, was indeed a factor in the second unit’s struggles.

“They trying to figure it out on the fly,” Crowder said. “With a few days of practice and probably one tough day of practice without him. It’s tough but they’re figuring it out. There’s no other way to figure it out but in a game. They’ll figure it out as soon as possible.”