|Poll: Who must step up their game to give Celtics a shot in Game 2?||04.18.16 at 4:36 pm ET|
The Celtics are dealing with injuries to Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and Jae Crowder. With Bradley ruled out, Olynyk’s availability in question and Crowder’s ankle not 100 percent, the Celtics must have other players step forward. The question is: Who will they be?
|Kelly Olynyk dealing with ‘pain, discomfort’ heading into Game 2, Jae Crowder ‘not 100’ percent||04.18.16 at 4:16 pm ET|
Suddenly, the Celtics’ injury woes go well beyond Avery Bradley.
There are a number of uncertainties regarding the availabilities of the Celtics heading into Game 2 in Atlanta.
Aside from Bradley, who has been ruled out by Brad Stevens for Tuesday night, the most troubling might be the status of the C’s best 3-point shooter, Kelly Olynyk. The 7-footer re-aggravated the same (shooting) shoulder he injured on Feb. 10 against the Clippers. He missed 12 games after the All-Star break.
Olynyk missed his second straight practice Monday and is questionable for Tuesday.
“Got the impression he got aggravated the other day and he’s been dealing with it for a while, obviously, since the [initial] injury,” Stevens said. “So he’s going to sit out today and we’ll see about [Tuesday] night.”
If Olynyk can’t go, the Celtics would be without two of their top three perimeter shooters in Bradley and Olynyk.
“We’ll see. Hopefully. Probably just rest it today, see how it goes,” Olynyk said. “Just sore, pain, discomfort. I’m just trying to get it back.”
Olynyk told reporters Monday at Philips Arena he doesn’t recall exactly when he injured the shoulder but believes it happened sometime during the Game 1 loss.
“During the game you could definitely tell something wasn’t the same as it was for the start,” Olynyk said. “Hopefully just a little rest and recovery and get back out there.”
|Avery Bradley ‘very unlikely’ to return to series; Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk also banged up||04.17.16 at 2:35 pm ET|
The news on Avery Bradley does not sound promising for a return in the first-round series against the Hawks.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters Sunday at the team’s practice at Georgia Tech that Bradley suffered a “pretty significant” strain of his right hamstring and is “very unlikely” to return at anytime during the rest of the series.
Bradley told Stevens during the game Saturday that he heard “a pop” but told reporters after the game that he would take every type of treatment and hold out hope of returning, if not Tuesday for Game 2 then sometime during the series.
On Sunday, Stevens made it sound like that would likely take an act of God.
“Certainly very unlikely Tuesday night [for Game 2],” Stevens told reporters before practice Sunday. “As of now I would say he’s out Tuesday night. Obviously he’ll continue to get treatment around the clock and go from there.”
Bradley injured his right hamstring after going up to block a shot from Hawks guard Jeff Teague with just over six minutes left in the fourth quarter Saturday night. He came down and began to race up court when he suddenly pulled up lame.
“We’ve obviously had games without him before, and we have to have other guys step up,” Stevens continued. “I think the biggest challenge is that we’re playing small anyways. So you might have to go even deeper into that, which is OK.”
|Avery Bradley on Celtics’ big holes: ‘We have to get out of that pattern’||04.17.16 at 12:04 am ET|
Long before coming out of Saturday’s game with a strained right hamstring, Avery Bradley watched as his Celtics teammates continued a troubling trend.
They fell behind by 19 points in the first half and trailed by 17 at halftime, 51-34.
The stats were beyond ugly. They made just 12-of-51 shots for 23.1 percent. They were 2-for-16 from 3-point range. They had three players in foul trouble as Jared Sullinger, Amir Johnson and Marcus Smart all had two fouls. The Hawks by contrast were doing everything they wanted in the first six minutes of the game. Inside, outside and in between.
The Celtics were getting beaten to loose balls and Atlanta was ahead 26-8 in the paint. The Celtics were outscored 30-19 in the first quarter Saturday. That’s an improvement from Wednesday when they trailed 35-13 and from the second quarter on Monday when they were throttled by Charlotte, 39-13, in the second quarter.
“I feel like we dig a hole for ourselves,” Bradley said. “We have to get out of that pattern. I feel like if we’re able to do that, the series would be a lot different. The game would’ve been a lot different. I feel like we would’ve given ourselves a better chance throughout this entire game if we started out this game a little better.”
What did their coach think?
“We’re going to have to knock down some more shots, obviously,” Brad Stevens said. “I think at halftime we were even talking, we felt like we attacked them better in the first half than they we did last week when we scored 71 [in the first half]. We just missed a lot of open ones. We’re going to eventually have to knock those down because that’s part of what we’re going to have to get on all those rotations and extra passes. They’re pretty active at the rim against us.”
|Avery Bradley hears ‘a pop’ in his right hamstring, focused on getting back for Game 2||04.16.16 at 11:19 pm ET|
There will be no sympathy for the Celtics or Avery Bradley at this time of year. And the Celtics and Bradley know it.
When Bradley went up to try and block a layup from Jeff Teague with 6:42 left in the fourth quarter, something didn’t feel right. As a matter of fact, after the 102-101 Game 1 loss to the Hawks at Philips Arena on Saturday night, Bradley said it felt “weird.”
“I was trying to go up and block Teague and when I came down, I felt weird,” Bradley told reporters after. “I took a few steps and I just couldn’t walk. My main focus is just try to get treatment so I can get back as soon as possible.”
When he couldn’t put any weight on his right leg and had to be helped to the locker room, the prognosis for Game 2 did not look good. But that doesn’t mean Bradley is giving up hope, especially during the playoffs.
“I don’t really want to talk about it that much,” Bradley said. “I just want to try to get treatment and take it day by day, and hopefully, I can be back for the next game. I’ll get treatment. If I could get treatment all night. My main focus is just trying to get back for next game.”
Bradley says he will get an MRI on Sunday and then make a determination from that. He tried to maintain a positive outlook after the game.
“I’ll be fine, once I get some treatment,” Bradley said. “I know Ed and those guys, they’ll do a great job of trying to get me back as soon as possible. I’m not worried at all. I have faith. I know my teammates and people are praying for me, hoping I can get back as soon as possible.”
|Poll: Do Celtics have a chance without Avery Bradley?||04.16.16 at 10:11 pm ET|
When Avery Bradley went down with 6:42 left in the fourth quarter Saturday night, the Celtics led the Hawks, 83-80. He grabbed his right hamstring as he made his way up the court and eventually fell to the court near midcourt as he hobbled his way off the court. He was helped to the locker room by trainer Ed Lacerte and teammate Tyler Zeller and did not return. He was ruled out with a strained right hamstring. The C’s were outscored 22-18 the rest of the way and suffered a heartbreaking 102-101 loss in Game 1 at Philips Arena. Will Marcus Smart be able to pick up the load if Bradley is lost for the series?
|Studs and Duds: Celtics rally falls short as Avery Bradley (hamstring) injured||04.16.16 at 9:52 pm ET|
The Celtics lost a playoff game and their best defensive player down the stretch of a rough Game 1 in Atlanta.
Al Horford led three Hawks with at least 20 points, scoring 24 while grabbing 12 rebounds as Atlanta grabbed Game 1, 102-101, Saturday night at Philips Arena.
Avery Bradley left the game midway through the fourth quarter grabbing his right leg in pain with a strained right hamstring. He did not return. His status for Game 2 Tuesday night is unknown.
Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 27 points, as Boston erased an 18-point first half hole to take a fourth quarter lead. But the Celtics faded after Bradley went down and fell down, 1-0, in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Jae Crowder hit a three with 6.6 seconds left to bring Boston to within two, 100-98. But Jeff Teague hit two free throws with 5.2 seconds left to seal the win. Thomas hit a three with 0.4 left to make it 102-101.
The Hawks came out on fire in the opening quarter, racing out to a 20-10 lead. The Celtics were settling for jump shots and the Hawks were taking advantage in transition, getting open looks at threes and midrange jumpers.
With the Celtics concerned about how to contain Atlanta bigs Paul Millsap and Al Horford, the biggest factor in the opening quarter was the foul trouble the Celtics’ big men faced. Both Amir Johnson and Jared Sullinger picked up two fouls apiece.
The Hawks finished the first quarter on a 7-2 run to take a 30-19 lead.
The Hawks built their lead up to 14, 39-25 before Marcus Smart drilled a three from the left wing with just under seven minutes left in the second quarter.
The Celtics made just 11 of their first 49 shots from the floor, falling behind 48-30 with just under two minutes left in the first half. Atlanta finished the second quarter on an 18-9 spurt to take a 51-34 lead at the half. The Celtics shot an abysmal 23.1 percent, connecting on just 12-of-51 shots in the first 24 minutes, including 2-for-16 from beyond the arc.
Adding to the misery of the first half was an injury to the left index finger of Smart. He was replaced by R.J. Hunter with five minutes left in the second quarter. Smart returned midway through the third quarter.
Almost predictably, the Celtics went on an 11-2 run early in the third quarter to cut Atlanta’s lead to nine, 54-45. Brad Stevens made a change in the starting lineup to open the second half, replacing Amir Johnson with Evan Turner.
The Celtics were trading baskets for the next five minutes before the Celtics got a three from Isaiah Thomas with 5:47 left in the third, cutting Atlanta’s lead to six, 62-56.
Bradley’s layup with 4:57 left cut the lead down to five, 63-58 before Mike Scott drilled a three to put the lead back to eight, 66-58. Millsap then drove past Kelly Olynyk for a layup and a foul. The three-point play with 4:05 left in the third put the lead back to 11, 69-58.
The Celtics’ frustration with a lack of calls going their way finally led to a technical on Brad Stevens with 2:52 left in the third quarter. It was Stevens’ first technical of the season and just his second with the Celtics in three seasons. With 46 seconds left in the quarter, Bradley hit a three that cut the lead back to five, 70-65. The Celtics finished the third quarter with 11 fast break points and 18 points in the paint, cutting Atlanta’s lead to 72-65 heading into the fourth.
The Celtics used the 3-point play, conventional and beyond the arc, to continue their second-half surge. Bradley hit a mid-range jumper and Marcus Smart was fouled. Smart’s free throw made it a one-possession game at 80-77. With 7:49 left, Smart drilled a three to tie it and then Crowder connected from the left wing with 6:49 left to give Boston an 83-80 lead and cap a 9-0 Celtics run.
But on the next possession, the entire tone of the game changed when Bradley pulled up lame with a right hamstring strain. He had to be helped off the court by trainer Ed Lacerte and teammate Tyler Zeller. He was almost immediately ruled out of the game by the team.
Thomas drilled a three with 5:53 left to give the Celtics an 86-84 lead. It would be Boston’s last field goal until a Marcus Smart putback layup with 1:02 left, a drought of four minutes, 51 seconds.
The Hawks went to work. With 4:07 left, Teague converted a layup putting the Hawks up, 88-86. With 3:25 left, Horford’s layup on a pass from Teague made it 90-88 Hawks. Turner’s three to tie the game with 46 seconds left was off the mark. Isaiah Thomas missed a layup and Bazemore hit one of two free throws to make it, 99-93 with 25.7 seconds left.
Game 2 is set for Tuesday night in Atlanta before the series shifts back to Boston for Game 3 next Friday night at TD Garden.
For a compete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.
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