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

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

WALTHAM, Mass. – The right Achilles’ strain that has kept Avery Bradley out of five of the Celtics’ past six games, will continue to keep the 6-foot-2 guard sidelined.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will not play Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Stevens added that no additional tests have been taken and the Achilles’ itself is structurally fine.
“He’s got a lot of soreness around it, and that’s one of those things you have to be ultra-careful with,” said Stevens, who later added that Bradley would not practice with the team today. “When he [Bradley] came back, he said he felt a lot better, and then he played and the next day he practiced. We didn’t do anything live but he did a lot of cutting and did not feel near as good. That’s why he didn’t play Wednesday.”
The absence of Bradley was clearly felt in a 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, a game in which Knicks guard Derrick Rose – the man Bradley would have likely spent defending most of the game – scored 30 points.
This season, all-NBA first team defender is  the Celtics’ No. 2 scorer at 17 points per game along with averaging a team-best 6.9 rebounds.
In addition, Bradley is shooting a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range, as well as dishing out 2.4 assists per game, which also represents a career-high for the 26-year-old.


Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

WALTHAM, Mass. – To dunk or not to dunk with the best in the NBA?
That is the question Celtics rookie forward Jaylen Brown is grappling with these days.
The 6-foot-7 Brown confirmed that he has been invited to be part of the league’s Slam Dunk competition at All-Star weekend, but hasn’t made up his mind as to whether he will participate.
Brown said he’ll likely make a decision about it sometime this weekend.
While he certainly understands that is indeed an honor for any player to be asked to participate in All-Star weekend, Brown said his trepidation about being part of the slam dunk competition has a lot to do with its potential impact on his body and how that may affect his ability to recharge over the weekend and get ready to finish out his rookie season strong.
If he decided to enter the contest, he would be facing some really stiff competition from last year’s winner Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, whose battle last season put their slam dunk competition among the best ever.
Facing tough competition is not something that concerns Brown.
“I’m not worried about anybody or anything,” Brown said. “I think I have a lot to offer. Just like your rookie year, your body and everything … it’s a lot. All those dunks, they look cool but it takes a toll on your body for sure. I want to put myself in the best position to help the team.”
While his focus has been on the Celtics, Brown acknowledged he has been getting a few tips on the competition from teammate Gerald Green, who is also a former Slam Dunk champion.
“[Gerald] Green has been coaching me up, giving me a lot of good ideas I wouldn’t have thought on my own,” Brown said. “If I do decide to do it, it’ll be some stuff [nobody] has seen before.”