Avery Bradley gets a shot of confidence

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Avery Bradley gets a shot of confidence

Post by bobheckler on Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:47 am


Celtics notebook: Avery Bradley gets a shot of confidence

Steve Bulpett

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Credit: Associated Press
SPLITTING THE LANE: C’s guard Avery Bradley drives past Hornets defenders Nicolas Batum (5) and Marvin Williams in last night’s Celts win in Charlotte, N.C.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Avery Bradley had made just 7-of-27 shots in the two games since coming back from a stomach illness, hitting but 1-of-12 3-pointers. And he was 2-for-7 overall and 0-for-2 on 3’s when coach Brad Stevens turned to him with the Celtics down seven midway through the final quarter last night.

The veteran responded with three treys down the stretch, guiding the C’s to a 121-114 win in a game it appeared they had squandered along with a 19-point lead.

“Brad drew up a play that just kept working about three or four times,” Isaiah Thomas said, “and we got stops on the other end, as well.”

The play had more than one option, but the design was for Bradley — a very appreciative Bradley.

“First of all, him drawing up a play for me — having that faith in me, my teammates having that faith — but credit to Brad,” Bradley said. “He looked me in my eyes and he was like, ‘Go knock the shot down, and we’re going to be down by four.’ And it was like just that confidence he had in me, you know, especially the way I’ve been shooting the ball lately, I needed that confidence. He definitely helped that, and it helped me make the other two 3’s. I felt confident shooting the ball, and it all came from him and my teammates.”

No time to rest

The Cleveland Cavaliers have said they will not be resting any of their regulars until they lock up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, and it appears positioning for the playoffs will play a role in Stevens’ plans, as well. The C’s are still trying to make sure they finish no worse than second in the East, which would mean homecourt advantage through at least the second round of the postseason if they advance that far.

“As we get to Wednesday, it may impact that decision,” Stevens said before last night’s win. “I think you obviously want the best seed that you can get, and you want to play the next game well. You want to win the next game, right? So we’ve had two tough ones in a row, and our focus is on playing well (against Charlotte). Seeding will shake itself out, but I’m more focused on trying to make sure we’re ready to go when it’s time.”

The Cavaliers seemed to let the Celts back into the race for No. 1 when they lost at home Friday to the Atlanta Hawks.

“I watched the game,” Thomas said. “But we can only control what we can control. We can’t worry about what other teams are doing, because, I mean, we definitely lost the last two games doing that. We’ve just got to figure out our own thing and do what we’ve got to do.”

Thomas was asked what his goals are with the regular season winding down.

“Just get some momentum going into the playoffs, get back to playing the brand of basketball we need to play to win games, and just playing the right way,” he said. “I think if we give it our all, give effort and rebound, that puts us in the best position to win.”

Thomas has been getting a taste of the playoffs, with opponents paying him extra attention.

“Yeah, it’s good for others to see that,” Thomas said. “Other guys got to step up. I mean, if other guys are hitting shots and doing what they do, you can’t defend me like that.”

Clifford on Thomas

Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said he wanted to be “careful about superlatives” when speaking about Thomas. Then he reflected on his own 17 years with the NBA and took off.

“There haven’t been many players, period, that can get through a small gap seam and finish at the rim with contact over people like he can,” Clifford said. “I mean, I was watching the Miami game, where fourth quarter, game on the line, he took the ball at (Hassan) Whiteside, drew contact and scored. And he can do it with both hands. He’s offensively, you know, he’s a superstar. There’s a lot of guys having MVP (seasons). He’s playing at an incredible level offensively. Incredible.”

Line ’em up

Thomas entered last night two one-hundredths of a point behind the Portland Trail Blazers’ C.J. McCollum in the battle for best free throw percentage in the NBA (91.2-91.0), then hit 7-of-8 in the win.

“It’d be cool to be the best free throw shooter, but it’s definitely not a goal of mine,” Thomas said. . . .

Tyler Zeller was back with the Celts after missing two games to be with his wife, Caitlyn, for the birth of the couple’s first child, a boy.

“It was a long few days there, but everybody’s good,” Zeller said.

MY NOTE:  "And it was like just that confidence he had in me, you know, especially the way I’ve been shooting the ball lately, I needed that confidence. He definitely helped that, and it helped me make the other two 3’s. I felt confident shooting the ball, and it all came from him and my teammates.”   An interesting statement from Bradley, whom I have not thought of as a confidence-driven shooter in several years.  If Bradley can feel like that then Kelly and others would too.  Smart, lacking all conscience and shooting discipline, is an exception as is IT for obvious reasons (like the fact that he is a natural shooter and natural shooters never doubt their shot.  Not IT, not Paul Pierce, not Ray Allen, not Kobe, Not MJ...). On another note, Brad is a GREAT motivator.


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Re: Avery Bradley gets a shot of confidence

Post by dboss on Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:59 am

Celts will need a lot of "A" games from AB as well as other players. However I truly believe that the play of our bench will be the most important factor in the playoffs.

We need the good Kelly to show up. We need the smart Smart to show up. And we need for Jaylen Brown not to play like a rookie.

Also hope Brad will give the veteran Gerald Green a chance to contribute.


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