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Stephen Curry, Tom Brady and the NBA All-Defensive power of Avery Bradley 02.28.13 at 6:33 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Celtics coach Doc Rivers and captain Paul Pierce both had high praise for Avery Bradley before Thursday’s practice. The C’s guard will have the unenviable task Friday of guarding Warriors counterpart Stephen Curry, who scored 54 points against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.

  • Pierce: “I think every great team needs a player like that, especially a great defensive team. With so many great scorers in this league and great individual play, you need that one guy who can go out there and kind of slow those types of guys down. We have that in Avery Bradley. He’s shown a willingness to sacrifice so much. I believe he can give us a lot more defensively, but he’s so great on the defensive end that it has an impact on this whole team. You don’t have to double as much, you don’t have to give as much help when you’ve got a guy like that who can defend at a high level. In my eyes, he’s probably the best on-the-ball defender in the NBA. I’d be very surprised if he didn’t make the All-Defensive Team.”
  • Rivers: “They’re picking him now. They’re getting him off of [his assignments], and that’s what they should do, but it’s nice to have a guy that can pressure the ball. I don’t know if Avery’s going to shut down everyone, but I know he’s going to give you the attempt to pressure, and ball pressure is important. I just use a football analogy: If you didn’t blitz Tom Brady and you just let him sit back there all day, he’s going to pick you apart. It’s the same in basketball. If you let the passers just sit there with no pressure, they’re going to pick you apart. And Avery is our blitzer.”

For more on the NBA All-Defensive case for Bradley, read this column.

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA
Doc Rivers on D&C: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett will be ‘great when the playoffs start’ at 11:26 am ET
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Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers

Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to talk about Stephen Curry‘s performance vs. the Knicks, the big win on Monday against the Jazz and more Celtics news.

The Celtics are on track to make their sixth straight postseason appearance, and Rivers is confident aging veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will be playing well once they get there.

“I think they’ll be great when the playoffs start,” Rivers said. “I think they’ll be better because there’s more rest, and our key is to get them there fresh.

“I thought that it may have had something to do with Danny [Ainge] not making a trade or doing a trade. I just don’t think anything was out there that appealed to him.”

Curry, Golden State’s sharpshooting guard, dropped 54 points against the Knicks on Wednesday night, albeit in a 109-105 Warriors loss. The 54 points are a season-high for the NBA this season.

“That was special to watch,” Rivers said, adding: “Some of the shots he was making were spectacular. … The way he shot the ball and the shots he got — he’s just a great shooter. He’s the best shooter in our league.”

Added Rivers: “When a guy gets in a zone like that, it’s just hard. It’s so easy to say, ‘Deny him,’ but he’s a point guard, so he always has the ball in his hands for the most part. That’s what makes it so difficult. Everyone else who are off the ball, you have a better chance. But a guy with the ball, in that zone, that’s hard.”

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
Doc Rivers: ‘Have to give [Rajon Rondo] room to do what he wants’ during injury 01.30.13 at 7:42 pm ET
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Doc Rivers believes his team is equipped to handle life without Rajon Rondo.

The first test for the Celtics is handling a Kings team that beat them like a drum in the fourth quarter of a 118-96 loss in Sacramento.

“Not really, I’d rather have him,” Rivers said when asked if coaching without his top point guard represents a unique opportunity. “But the coach in me and the players understand they don’t have him. It’s another challenge and hopefully, we’re up for it.”

Will Rondo be around the team before and after his upcoming ACL surgery?

“I don’t know,” Rivers said. “I don’t ever ask. I don’t really care. I want him to do what he needs to do. It’s very hard to come to every game. I had that same injury. There are days you want to be around the guys and there are days you don’t. I think you have to give him room to do what he wants.”

Apparently, what Rondo wants right now is the very best advice before going ahead with right knee reconstruction. According to injury expert Will Carroll, Rondo is consulting the “Big 3″ of knee doctors, including Neal ElAttrache, James Andrews and Walt Lowe. ElAttrache, you’ll recall, did the ACL reconstruct for Tom Brady in 2008.

Rivers also said one of the advantages of having Courtney Lee and Avery Bradley in the backcourt together is that they’re a more physical combo than Rondo and Bradley.

As for the Kings, Wednesday represented a chance at redemption against DeMarcus Cousins, the 22-year-old who went off for a triple-double on Dec. 30.

“He’s not athletic but he’s very [smart] and instinctive,” Rivers said in a moment of pre-game frankness.

As for the Kings, who entered Wednesday 17-29, Rivers had this assessment.

“They’re a talented, young team and there are nights when they get all activated and all together as a group and they’re really good.”

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

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Courtney Lee, DeMarcus Cousins
Avery Bradley: ‘We have adversity, we overcome it all the time’ 01.27.13 at 11:12 pm ET
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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. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, NBA
Is one NBA scout’s scathing take on Celtics accurate? 01.26.13 at 3:05 pm ET
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Paul Pierce

NBA general managers must be hovering like vultures over Danny Ainge‘s struggling Celtics, so it’s no surprise they are a main focus ESPN.com writer Marc Stein’s must-read Weekend Dime.

With all due respect to the NBA scout who rightfully ripped the Celtics to shreds in Stein’s piece, the outlook isn’t quite as bad as he makes it out to be, despite their current six-game losing streak.

“Their bench has to be playing at the top of their abilities for them to win.”

According to HoopsStats.com, the Celtics are 12-11 when their bench outperforms the opposing team’s and 7-11 when it doesn’t. That lends some credence to this statement, but they can win when their reserves don’t contribute. We knew these C’s would rely on their depth more this season than they have in the past, but Celtics coach Doc Rivers couldn’t even begin to structure a consistent rotation until Avery Bradley returned this month.

And they don’t have enough guys big-guy-wise that Doc [Rivers] is comfortable with.

The C’s everlasting search for frontcourt depth behind Kevin Garnett has been no secret. Hence, their rumored interest in both Marcin Gortat and DeMarcus Cousins. The struggles of Brandon Bass and the thumb injury to Chris Wilcox haven’t helped, but don’t rule out those two contributing more in the second half of the season.

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Jason Terry, NBA
Was Avery Bradley firing a Twitter shot at Rajon Rondo? 01.23.13 at 3:08 pm ET
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After the Celtics’ fourth straight defeat — a 95-90 loss suffered at the hands of Kyrie Irving (40 points) and the Cavaliers — guard Avery Bradley tweeted: “Nobody will score 40 on [me] unless they take 40 shots.”

Irving scored his 40 on 24 shots, although just three of those attempts came against Bradley; meanwhile, the Cavs point guard made 6-of-11 attempts against Celtics point Rajon Rondo, according to Synergy Sports (h/t @ESPNForsberg. That may not even include plays like Irving’s isolation drive past with 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter, when he blew by Rondo and got (questionably) fouled by Jared Sullinger on a three-point play.

So, why wasn’t Bradley — considered by many the best on-ball defender in the NBA — facing the surefire All-Star, particularly in that situation? While he’s recovering from a rib injury, Bradley played 26 effective minutes and was on the floor for the span from 2:31 to 0:22 of the fourth quarter, when Irving scored nine points on four layups.

When the C’s guard took to Twitter just minutes after the conclusion of the game, many considered it a veiled shot at Rondo, although Bradley quickly deleted the tweet and posted instead: “No shots at anybody. It’s confidence.”

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Kyrie Irving
Avery Bradley (ribs) out as Leandro Barbosa starts 01.18.13 at 6:48 pm ET
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Avery Bradley

Avery Bradley will sit out Friday night’s game against the Bulls with sore ribs suffered in Wednesday’s loss to the Hornets. Leandro Barbosa will make his second start of the season in his place.

Friday’s starting five of Rajon Rondo, Barbosa, Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and Paul Pierce marks the 11th different lineup coach Doc Rivers has used this season.

This is the first game Bradley has missed since missing the first 30 games as he recovered from shoulder surgeries. The team went 14-16 in his absence. With Bradley back, the Celtics are 6-2 and have improved their defense significantly. Bradley is averaging 8.1 points in eight games while the team has not allowed 100 points. The Celtics are allowing just 86.8 points in Bradley’s return.

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

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Doc Rivers
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