BOSTON -- Unlike many players in the NBA, Philadelphia 76ers guards Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday were very familiar with Avery Bradley when he entered the NBA last season.
Turner was the second overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, in which the Boston Celtics selected Bradley at the 19th spot. Holiday, 21, is the same age as Bradley and knew him from high school and college basketball circuits.
Last year the Sixers guards faced off against a Celtics backcourt of Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen as Bradley rode the bench for most of his rookie campaign. Late this season, Bradley has been moved to the starting lineup in place of Allen. While many opponents are still getting to know Bradley in a significant role, Holiday and Turner knew what to expect on Sunday against the Celtics.
With Ray, you have one of the best three-point shooters of all time on the court, Turner told CSNNE.com prior to the Celtics 103-79 victory. But the thing about Avery is, he plays hard and also picks up the tempo. His defense is really, really, really great so thats hard to really match up against. But the efforts not gone. You might lack in inches and size-wise, but Bradley plays with a big heart and makes some big plays.
Bradley scored 18 points (6-12 FG) with five assists, four rebounds, and one steal in 35 minutes during his 18th start of the season (he filled in for Rajon Rondo earlier in the season). Allen dropped 10 points (4-9 FG, 2-6 3PG) and two assists in 28 minutes in his third game off the bench.
I think Ray does bring more of a scoring aspect when hes on the floor and kind of spaces everybody, said Holiday. Everybody has to kind of key in on Ray Allen because he hits those shots.
But Avery Bradley, he just brings a lot of intensity, especially on defense. Hes a really good defensive player and he definitely gets a lot of stops which can lead to a lot of scoring. He kind of nags you. Its like everywhere you turn, hes just kind of there. Some people kind of lose sight of their man. Hes just kind of always there.
Both Holiday and Turner struggled offensively against Celtics guards Allen, Bradley, and Rondo for the majority of the game. Turner scored 10 points (3-6 FG) and Holiday contributed 8 (4-10 FG). They expected Bradley to test them on defense, and he did.
I knew he played tough, said Turner. When you watched him play at (the University of) Texas, he always played tough, he always played hard, and he could get the job done. I think with more and more opportunities he could turn into a better player. I just knew he gave one hundred percent out there and he could do a little bit of everything. The most impressive thing was his defense.