Doc on Bradley: 'He was terrific'

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Doc on Bradley: 'He was terrific'

BOSTON -- When Avery Bradley stepped into the starting lineup for an injured Ray Allen, questions buzzed as to whether or not Allen should be moved to the bench upon his return.

The Celtics were undefeated in the five games in which Bradley got the nod and the young guard gave them a fresh breath of athleticism and defensive intensity.

So who would help the Celtics more in the starting lineup?

During Allens return on Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs, Bradley showed he doesnt have to start to be effective. He also demonstrated how challenging the Celtics second unit can be with a starting-caliber player coming off the bench.

It doesnt matter where I come, whether I start or come off the bench or if I dont play, he said following the Spurs 87-86 win. However I can help my team, just coming in and bringing that energy, thats what Im going to do.

Bradley checked in with 3:34 left in the first quarter and finished the night with a game-high 19 points (9-16 FG) in 34 minutes off the bench. He played more minutes than starters Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass, staying on the court while the Celtics fought back with a smaller guard-centric lineup.

Allen scored five points (2-6 FG), including a key three late in the game, in 35 minutes.

The last five games have built up the confidence of the humble 21-year-old guard who was so nervous as a rookie last season that he hoped he would not be called on to participate in practice.

I understand what Doc wants from me, Bradley said. You dont try to do too much or too little. You just know what they expect and I feel a lot more confident playing my game... I know how to pick my shots, when to shoot, when not to, being aggressive, when not to be. Thats what I try to do.

Celtics head coach Doc Rivers has taken notice of Bradleys application of his advice.

Its what I tried to tell you guys before -- starter or not, hes going to play the same, said Rivers. And he was terrific.

Spurs head coach Greg Popovich also had praise for Bradley, in a different kind of delivery.

Hes a pain in the ass, said Popovich. The game starts and you know what hes going to do. Hes going to cut from the corner to the bucket and lay it in. Hes going to cut diagonally from the top. You know it and you go play... Youve got to give him credit. He knows his role and he does it very, very well. He killed us all night long.

There is the possibility Bradley could return to the starting lineup if Rivers decides to rest his veterans toward the end of the regular season in preparation for the playoffs. Or, Rivers could simply decide to alter the starting lineup. Whatever the role Bradley will be given, he will approach it with the same energy level either way.

After his recent performances, his teammates have come to expect it.

Hes been playing like that the last six or seven games, said Rajon Rondo. So its kind of what were expecting of him. Hes playing big for us and thats what we need him to do.

David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

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David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

BOSTON — David Price and Rick Porcello showed improvement on back-to-back nights Friday and Saturday, important signs for the Red Sox after a difficult month for both pitchers prior to this homestand.

Price on Saturday night went six innings and allowed three runs, two earned, in a 6-3 loss to the Angels. He fanned five and his velocity has been consistently better this year than last year.

But the most important number was his walk total: one. He walked three batters in his previous start, and four in both of his starts prior.

“Two outings ago, the first start here in Fenway,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “There was better timing in his delivery and overall better separation over the rubber. And he carried that through I thought, even though there's a higher pitch count in Houston, and has been able to maintain it here. I can't say there was one specific thing. It's been more the timing over the rubber. And you're seeing him pitch out of the stretch exclusively. Just less moving parts in a better position to repeat it.”

After Price’s final inning, the telecast captured Price calling pitching coach Carl Willis into the tunnel. Neither Farrell nor Price detailed the conversation. 

“Yeah, everything was fine,” Farrell said of the conversation. “Everything is OK there.”

Price made it sound like he’s dealing with some sort of physical ailment, but was vague.

“There's a lot of stuff going on right now,” the pitcher said when asked about the desire to stay out there. “You don't want it to linger into the next start, or two or three weeks from now, and that's why we did what we did.”

Asked to elaborate, Price reinforced that the decision was to save his body for another day.

“You never want to come out of a game. But you have to look forward at the time,” Price said. “You don’t want today to cost you your next start or you know, the start after that. So that’s what happened.

“It has nothing to do with my elbow or anything like that. This is — you get past one thing and there’s another So that’s what it is.”

Price in New York in early June felt a blister develop on his ring finger. He missed an in-between start bullpen because of it.

Asked about the blister Saturday, Price said, “That one’s gone.”

Farrell indicated the blister was diminished, if not entirely gone.

“He's been dealing with that,” Farrell said. “I think while it's still present and maybe not as severe as it was when it first happened, I'm sure he's going to check on it occasionally."

Red Sox threaten late, but can't come back in 6-3 loss to Angels

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Red Sox threaten late, but can't come back in 6-3 loss to Angels

BOSTON - JC Ramirez rebounded from his shortest career start with six solid innings, Cameron Maybin doubled home a run and scored another and the Los Angeles Angels held off the Boston Red Sox 6-3 on Saturday night.

The Angels look for their fifth series win in their last six on Sunday.

Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer for the Red Sox, who lost for only the third time in their last 13 home games.

Ramirez (7-5) allowed one run and four hits with five strikeouts after lasting just three innings and giving up five runs in his previous start.

Blake Parker struck out pinch-hitter Chris Young with the bases loaded for the final out for his first save of the season after Boston scored twice in the ninth.

Red Sox manager John Farrell was ejected by third-base umpire and crew chief Bill Miller after Fernando Abad was called for a balk, scoring a run that made it 5-1 in the seventh.