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Avery Bradley: ‘We didn’t play hard enough, consistently’ 02.23.16 at 12:20 am ET
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Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9) is fouled by Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley (0) in the fourth quarter Monday night. (Marilyn Indahl/USA Today Sports)

Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9) is fouled by Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley (0) in the fourth quarter Monday night. (Marilyn Indahl/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics nearly pulled off a miracle Monday night in Minneapolis.

But when Marcus Smart’s potential game-winning three fell short at the final buzzer, the Celtics were left to wonder why they couldn’t beat a Timberwolves team that came in with a 17-39 record.

“I feel like we can learn a lot from this game. We didn’t play hard enough, consistently, throughout the whole game,” said Avery Bradley, who scored 22 points in the 124-122 loss. “That’s the real reason we lost. We gave ourselves a chance.”

Bradley gave the Celtics a real shot when his three with 6.2 seconds left drew the Celtics to within one, 123-122. But after a Zach LaVine free throw, Smart dribbled up the right side and instead of dishing to a wide open Isaiah Thomas, he decided to pull up for a three of his own that fell short off the front iron.

“The last play, or anything like that, that wasn’t the reason we lost the game,” Bradley told reporters afterward. “We just weren’t playing hard enough on a consistent basis.”

The Celtics went small late in an effort to spread the court and space out the Minnesota bigs, who the Celtics couldn’t handle all night. Rookie Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 28 points and 13 rebounds while Gorgui Dieng added 17 points and 12 boards.

“They’re a young, athletic team as well. We let their young guys get going early, and it was hard to slow them down, to be honest,” Bradley said.

Towns served notice early that he was going to be a force, scoring 15 points and grabbing seven rebounds in the opening quarter.

“Yeah, we had no answer for him. We had no answer for him in any type of isolation I thought,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters. “That’s why we went zone for a couple of possessions, and actually played it pretty well. And then we just trapped everything late and played five guards and just tried to fly around. The problem with that was obviously rebounding.

“Towns had his way with us the whole night and obviously, their other guys did, too. Certainly, he stood out.”

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Karl-Anthony Towns
Studs and Duds: Avery Bradley buzzer beater lifts Celtics past Cavaliers in most dramatic win of season 02.05.16 at 10:43 pm ET
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Feb 5, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; The Boston Celtics celebrate after guard Avery Bradley (0) reacts after hitting a three-point shot to end the game and beat the Cleveland Cavaliers  at Quicken Loans Arena. The Celtics won 104-103. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Avery Bradley (0) celebrates his game-winner against the Cavs on Friday. (USA TODAY Sports)

It’s time to start believing in the Celtics.

Avery Bradley sank a corner three at the buzzer to give the Celtics a 104-103 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night for their eighth win in nine games.

Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 22 points, while Evan Turner filled up the score sheet, finishing with 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists. Bradley, Tyler Zeller, and Jared Sullinger also finished in double figures as the C’s (30-22) maintained their hold on the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.

The C’s actually trailed by four with six seconds left, but Turner made a layup while being fouled. He missed the free throw, but the ball went out of bounds off the Cavs, giving the Celtics one last chance to win with 3.7 seconds left. The Celtics inbounded to Thomas, who avoided a double team and fed the ball back to Bradley in the corner. The defensive specialist let it fly as the buzzer sounded, coolly walking along the Celtics bench in complete confidence before the ball even swished to give the Celtics one of their most uplifting victories of the season.

It didn’t appear they’d have a chance after the Cavs jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter, but despite struggling early in the first half, the Celtics kept the game close. LeBron James scored 13 of his 30 points in the fourth, but the Celtics outscored the Cavs, 39-30 in that final frame.

The Celtics will welcome old friend Rajon Rondo to the Garden on Sunday when they host the Sacramento Kings.

For a complete box score, click here.

STUD OF THE NIGHT  Bradley deserves credit for hitting the clutch shot, but the Celtics stayed in the game due to the play of Turner. In the fourth quarter, Turner made a number of plays on both offense and defense, including a block of James. He finished with a game-high +11 in 32 minutes.

DUD OF THE NIGHT: The Cleveland fans, still upset by the Kevin Love incident during last year’s playoffs, are still quite upset with Kelly Olynyk, booing him every time he touched the basketball. Olynyk did not respond well to the extra attention, finishing with two points in 12 minutes.

VINE OF THE NIGHT: The Game Winner Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Avery Bradley, Avery Bradley buzzer beater, Cavaliers, Celtics
Studs and Duds: Celtics beat Nuggets, stretch win streak to 4 01.27.16 at 10:22 pm ET
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Jan 27, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley (0) reacts after his three point basket against the Denver Nuggets in the first quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics guard Avery Bradley  reacts after his 3-pointer against the Nuggets in the first quarter at TD Garden. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Forcing a total of 20 turnovers, the Celtics led the Nuggets throughout the final three quarters Wednesday en route to a 111-103 victory at TD Garden.

After three quarters, the Celtics scored 15 second-chance points off of 13 offensive rebounds and took a 86-71 lead into the fourth quarter. The Celtics used an 18-2 run in the final frame to open up a 22-point advantage — their biggest lead of the night. The Celtics bench totaled 40 points and took care of the lead while the starters rested.

Avery Bradley scored a game-high 27 points and Isaiah Thomas added 16 points and five assists. Danilo Gallinari and Will Barton each scored 23 points to lead the Nuggets.

The Celtics (26-21) have won four games in a row — tying a season high — and are half a game behind the Bulls for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

STUD OF THE NIGHT: Avery Bradley

After Bradley scored 13 first quarter points on 5-for-7 shooting, including 3-of-5 from deep, you knew it was going to be one of those shooting nights for him. The Celtics guard shot 55 percent on 11-of-20 shooting, including 5-of-13 from distance and tallied 27 points. Defensively, Bradley was a pest in the back court and finished the night with four steals.

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Report: Avery Bradley unhappy with Celtics contract 01.26.16 at 11:01 am ET
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Celtics shooting guard Avery Bradley reportedly has grown frustrated with his current contract situation. While he was previously highly touted mostly for his lock-down perimeter defense, Bradley has elevated his offensive game this year and has proven to be a major asset on both sides of the ball for the Celtics. Now he and his new agent apparently feel he should be paid like it.

The Celtics inked Bradley to a four-year, $32 million deal in 2014. Many actually thought Celtics boss Danny Ainge had overpaid to keep him in Boston, due to the fact that he was seen by most as a one-sided player. It seems the tables have turned, and in the coming seasons Bradley and his agent may be pushing for more money.

Wrote Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe: Avery Bradley has changed agents from Mitchell Butler of the Rival Sports Group to Rob Pelinka, who also represents Kobe Bryant. Butler was able to procure the oft-injured Bradley a four-year, $32 million contract extension last summer, considered an above-market deal. Now Bradley is apparently unhappy with his contract, especially after seeing players such as Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton (five years, $70 million), Utah’s Gordon Hayward (four years, $61 million), and Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson (five years, $82 million) cash in with lucrative extensions, making Bradley’s deal appear to be a bargain with the new television money increasing the salary cap this summer.

Bradley has averaged 14.8 points per game and is shooting 37 percent from 3-point range. His offensive success clearly has not caused his defense to suffer, as he’s also on pace for a career-high 1.6 steals per game.

For more Celtics news, visit the team page at weei.com/celtics.

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics,
Studs and Duds: Celtics bounce back, beat Hornets 12.12.15 at 9:49 pm ET
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Brad Stevens has to have the best cure for hangovers.

A night after an emotional double-overtime loss to the undefeated Warriors, the Celtics defeated the Hornets, 98-93. The win marks the C’s 10th straight when playing on the road on the second night of a back-to-back.

The Celtics struggled to find their legs in the first half, scoring only 38 points on 35 percent shooting from the field and converting a putrid 1-of-10 attempts from the 3-point line. But the Hornets, who came into the game with one of the league’s best offenses, couldn’t capitalize, as they too missed open shots.

The entire pace of the game changed in the third quarter, as the C’s hit seven of their first eight attempts from beyond the arc and built a 12 point lead. Despite a 35-point quarter, the Celtics squandered the double-digit 12-point lead, as Nic Batum (21 points) led Charlotte on a 10-2 run that closed the deficit to four.

The C’s clung to a narrow lead in the fourth quarter and escaped Charlotte with a five-point victory. Avery Bradley led all scorers with 23 points, while Isaiah Thomas (21 points), Jae Crowder (16 points), Evan Turner (10 points) and David Lee (10 points) also reached double figures.

The win pushes the Celtics to 14-10 on the season, just a half-game back of the Hornets (14-9) for second place in the Eastern Conference. The C’s will host LeBron James and the Cavaliers on Tuesday. The Cavs swept Boston in the first round of the playoffs last season.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, NBA
4 keys for Celtics to beat Warriors 12.11.15 at 3:06 pm ET
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Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry

Don’t let the Celtics fool you, this isn’t just another game.

The Celtics (13-9) have a chance to beat the undefeated Warriors (23-0) Friday night at TD Garden, and of course it’s not going to be easy. Reigning MVP Steph Curry is making a case for this year’s honor and leading the league’s best offense. Avery Bradley is going to do his best to pester Curry — make him uncomfortable, keep a hand in his face — but if the Celtics do knock off the Warriors it’s not going to depend on that.

The Warriors are a great team with a lot of weapons. If the Celtics are to pull off the upset, here are four things that would go a long way toward helping that happen.

1. Isaiah Thomas comes through with his season-best effort

No other Celtic has been more consistent than Isaiah Thomas. He’s averaging a team-high 21 points and leads the team in assists (6.3). The Celtics need a big night from their best scorer. If Thomas scores 30 or more points against the Warriors, it’s going to free up guys like Bradley and Jae Crowder. He’s only scored 30 points once this season (against the 76ers) but if there’s one Celtic you have to bet is going to score 30, it’s Thomas. Lately he’s been the second-half hero for the C’s. That has to end Friday night. Thomas needs to get it going early.

2. The C’s control the boards

Jared Sullinger has been a force on the glass lately, grabbing 36 rebounds in his last two games. But he is going to have his hands full guarding Draymond Green. Sullinger needs to out-rebound Green and keep him outside of the paint. The Celtics also are going to need all the second-chance points they can get. The C’s managed 17 second-chance points on 13 offensive rebounds against the Bulls, and they should be able to do the same against Green, Andrew Bogut and the Warriors.

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Stephen Curry
Studs and Duds: Avery Bradley, Celtics bounce back against Heat 11.30.15 at 10:21 pm ET
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One night after suffering a 19-point loss to the Magic — another ugly outing in this up-and-down season — the Celtics responded with an impressive 105-95 victory against the Heat in Miami.

The Celtics improved to 10-8, jumping back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture for the time being, as they play the Kings, Spurs and Pelicans on the road over the next week.

Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 25 points on 15 shots against Miami (10-6). Amir Johnson notched a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds), and Isaiah Thomas just missed one (16 points, 9 assists). Jared Sullinger netted 17 points, while Jae Crowder and Evan Turner each added 13.

Dwayne Wade’s 30 points marked the first time an opponent scored 30 on the C’s this season.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

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