|Avery Bradley: ‘We have adversity, we overcome it all the time’||01.27.13 at 11:12 pm ET|
One of the many painful ironies of Sunday’s stunning news that Rajon Rondo is done for the season with a torn ACL is who will be asked to step up and play a bigger role.
Avery Bradley‘s season didn’t begin until Jan. 2 because of a pair of shoulder surgeries this past summer. One on his left shoulder ended his playoffs in May. Another in June on his right shoulder prolonged his downtime.
Now, it will be Bradley who will likely be the steadying force in the backcourt as the Celtics look to hold on in the final 38 games of the season for a playoff spot.
“Whatever Doc wants me to play, that’s what I’m going to do,” Bradley said of playing either shooting guard or point. “I’m going to go out there and give it my all. No matter if it’s the ’2′ or the ’1′, I’m going to go out there and play as hard as I can.”
What the Celtics did Sunday to beat the mighty Heat in double overtime without Rondo will likely be the formula Doc Rivers calls upon to repeat itself down the stretch, tough defense from the likes of Bradley, Jeff Green and Courtney Lee.
“Like I always say, it shows what type of team we are,” Bradley said. “We have adversity, we overcome it all the time. We had two back to back overtime games, you know we’re tired. But we keep fighting, we play hard for each other no matter what. And it showed today when we got the win.
“We played great defense. We stayed down. Lebron’s a very good player, hard to guard. Jeff just battled today. That’s the type of team defense we play, we battled. You know, KG was battling, Paul, even Paul was matched up with Dwyane Wade a few times at point guard. So we just went out there and had a great team win.”
Paul Pierce left no doubt he believes the Celtics are far from finished, even with Rondo done for the season.
“We still like our chances in the Eastern Conference,” Pierce said. “We found we can play anybody with the team we put out there. Even without Rondo. I mean new guys are going to get an opportunity now. I know guys have taken the lesser road because of the way our team is built and now they may have to take on a bigger role. You know we have guys that are more than capable who are stepping up. You know there’s Courtney Lee, or there’s Leandro Barbosa. You know these guys can play. You know with the system we have, with Rondo being our primary playmaker, a 40 minute guy. These guys haven’t had a chance to really showcase what they can do. And now they will have that opportunity.”
But that is not to say the mood in the Celtics locker room wasn’t sullen. It was. The Celtics know what they lost on Sunday in the win over Miami. Now, it’s up to everyone to take a day, soak it in and move on.
“Just continue to play team basketball. Let our star players, our playmakers make plays,” Bradley said. “I know he’s sad. I’m sad for him. Just like they were for me last year. We’re family, so you feel bad for him. You know I know he wants the best for us, and wants us to continue to go out there and play hard for him every game. And that’s what we are going to do.
“It was hard man. I could see it on his face. You didn’t know what he was going to say when he said it everybody’s head just went down. We went from cheering to being sad.”
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