BOSTON Atlanta's Joe Johnson has a four-inch height advantage over Boston's 6-2 guard Avery Bradley in a matchup that Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers acknowledges he's not crazy about.
In fact, the Cs gave some thought to making a lineup change to better match up with Johnson, who came into this series as the Hawks' leading scorer in the regular season.
But Rivers ultimately decided to stick with Bradley, who has started all five playoff games in addition to 28 regular season games.
Bradley has been a huge part of the Celtics' resurgence after the all-star break, displaying the kind of on-the-ball-pressure that established him as one of the league's up-and-coming defenders.
In addition, the C's have seen his offensive game evolve to the point where teams can no longer lay off him the way they at times treat his backcourt mate, Rajon Rondo.
But in the midst of his improved play, Bradley has been battling a left shoulder injury which has become more troublesome as the C's get deeper into the playoffs. Team officials described it as a sore rotator cuff injury that Bradley admits is still sore and at times uncomfortable.
But the prospect of replacing Bradley with someone like Sasha Pavlovic, Mickael Pietrus or one of the C's bigger perimeter defenders is tempting.
However, the Celtics don't want to do anything to potential stunt Bradley's impressive growth this season - like benching him in the playoffs.
"We thought about it," Rivers acknowledged. "Avery's a young kid and even if we have to make a move early, we'd rather do that then take him out of the lineup."
Three weeks into the season, health has dominated the conversation with the Red Sox. And it’s much more than just the flu.
A scheduled off-day Monday brought something resembling an update for three players worth roughly $63 million in salary.
Dustin Pedroia, Orioles peacemaker, was examined at Massachusetts General Hospital and remains day-to-day because of left ankle and left knee soreness. He did not undergo an MRI, with his condition apparently good enough that the team felt it was unnecessary -- even though the message delivered on Sunday by manager John Farrell was that the Sox wanted to rule everything out.
Pedroia hasn’t played since he was spiked by Manny Machado on Friday in Baltimore.
Pablo Sandoval, at some point Monday, was slated to have an MRI after spraining his right knee Sunday. A further evaluation is to come Tuesday, so his status remains unclear.
David Price, meanwhile, threw a 45-pitch bullpen at Fenway Park on his long journey back from a left elbow strain. There were simulated inning breaks and, naturally, what’s next is still to be seen. Facing hitters shouldn’t be too far away, Farrell has suggested.
The Patriots have themselves another "big back" option for 2017.
The Bills announced that they have opted not to match the restricted free agent offer sheet that New England made to Mike Gillislee last week. That means the 5-foot-11, 219-pounder is now a member of the Patriots. Buffalo had until 4 p.m. on Monday to match.
Gillislee was reportedly extended an offer sheet by the Patriots that is worth $6.4 million and $4 million in the first year. The Bills had the cap space to match the offer, but with LeSean McCoy already atop their depth chart, the price tag may have been too rich for them to choose to hold onto the 26-year-old.
Because Gillislee was given the original-round tender by the Bills, the Patriots will send Buffalo a fifth-round pick as compensation. That gives Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio six picks in this weekend's draft: two thirds, a fourth, a fifth, a sixth and a seventh.
Gillislee joins Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis, James White, Brandon Bolden and DJ Foster on the running back depth chart in New England.