These require no commentary. Enjoy…
Goodell can’t throw away those tapes…
The Celtics find themselves down 0-2 in a first round series for the second straight year. In 2013 it was the New York Knicks who actually led the series 0-3 before the Celtics had one final death rattle, winning games four and five to push it to a sixth game in Boston. The Celtics, as we knew them, were finished after that series. Doc left unceremoniously, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett leapt at greener pastures in Brooklyn (I think they used green spray paint for that pasture).
For the first time since before the Big Three era, the Celtics are in the playoffs and just enjoying the ride. The Big Three were like Tiger Woods, there was always a chance that they could catch fire and threaten any opponent. They did it in 2010, they almost did it in 2011 until LeBron morphed into a monster and destroyed Boston in games 6 and 7.
As a fan, the frustrating part of this playoff birth is that no one really seems to care about some of the weaknesses and poor performances that are on display. Everyone is wearing green colored glasses.
There’s one player in particular that is killing me and it’s one that Celtics fans should be concerned about going forward.
Enter Avery Bradley.
Avery Bradley has developed into a very serviceable NBA shooting guard. He has quieted the critics who said he couldn’t shoot. He has continued to play defense at a high level and he managed to stay healthy this year.
All those questions have been answered.
Now, a new set of questions has emerged after watching him play in the playoffs against the Knicks in 2013 and against the Cavs this year.
Is Avery Bradley equipped to handle being a starter on a playoff team?
Can Bradley get his shots when the game slows down and a team can take away his strengths?
Can Bradley handle defending elite scorers?
Looking at Bradley’s playoff numbers it seems like a lot of the answers are “no.” The eye test almost further emphasizes the answer.
His scoring numbers dip from regular season to playoff each year. In 18 playoff starts Bradley is averaging 6.8 points on 37% shooting in 27 MPG. That’s horrible. He turned the ball over nearly twice a game in the Knicks series when he made it abundantly clear that Danny Ainge needed to find someone else to handle the ball in the future (which still needs to happen). Bradley has only cracked double digits in scoring four times in those 18 games; he’s also never scored more than 15 points in one game.
Looking more closely at the last two games against the Cavs, Bradley has not played smart basketball either. He’s failing the eyeball test. He looks lost on defense, he’s been over-aggressive and got himself into foul trouble on Tuesday night. Was that totally his fault? No, the refs made some iffy calls. However, starting a game the way he did is plain stupid. He’s guarding Kyrie Irving, an All-Star and he needs to understand that the refs are going to be giving him some calls. He has to feel his way into the game defensively, so he can then produce offensively.
The Cavs have also taken away Bradley’s bread and butter plays, that little curl off the screen and the dribble hand off that open him up for 19 foot jump shots get him a solid amount of open looks during the regular season. However Cleveland has swallowed up those shots, and they aren’t even a good defensive team.
Bradley makes his living shooting mid-range jumpers, and this series has not been kind to him in that respect (or any respect, really). He is shooting 6 for 19 from the field. He shot 1 for 6 on three pointers in game 1, but followed that up with a 2 for 2 showing on Tuesday. He has a plus/minus of -18 for the series and has not taken a single free throw.
While it’s really great to have playoff basketball back in my life as a Celtics fan, it’s hard not to watch Avery Bradley and wonder about his future with the Celtics. He has a pretty friendly contract considering what might happen with the cap in 2016, but it’s starting to look like he might be a guy who comes off the bench instead of a starter on a team that can contend for an NBA title.
It’s also hard not to wonder if the Celtics could be 1-1 coming back to Boston if Avery Bradley had managed to perform at a higher level. Even just his regular season level might have been enough to steal one of those games in Cleveland.
Here’s hoping he uses game 3 to turn things around.
The Corner Three decided to put their playoff predictions in writing instead of podcast form. This makes the intern much happier, as he doesn’t have to comb through the archives to find out who was right and who was wrong.
Each prediction is defended with a quick twitter length rant.
Here are the picks:
BLopez finished strong, Dwill and Jjohnson will have to show up. Hawks are good all year but are fighting ghosts and injuries. #Atlanta in 6
Beantown wants a sports movie. BStevens and IT4 winning. LBJ KLOVE Kyrie don’t care about sports movies. #Cavs in 4
Drose. Knee. Noah. Ankle. Gibson. Shoulder. Tom Thibodeau breaks things. Bucks don’t know better. Upset Special.#Bucks in 6
Both of these team names and logos are awful. The winner gets to change their name when they lose in the next round. A rapper will pick it. #WhoCares #Walein6
MVP Curry. KThompson 37 OAKTOWN. Underrated Playoff Coach. ADavis gets to learn. Next year, young buck. #Warriors in 4
Beard is slowed by playoff dfense. Howard starts crying. Rondo house shopping in LA. Cuban busy blogging. Dallas still too old.#Houston in 6
Impossible draw for Clips. Kawhi v CP3. Duncans guile v Deandre brute force. No one on either team actually likes Blake.#Spursin6maybe5 #RidingtheFence
AnkleKneeAchillesHandLowBackFootShoulder. Walking Dead Promo. Winner loses next.#Blazersin7
The Joe Johnson revenge tour doesn’t quite ever really get started. Hawks thanks their lucky stars they avoided Brad Stevens in the first round… #ATLin5
On the bright side, maybe Kevin Love will really love Boston in April… Gentlemen’s sweep…#Clevelandin5
#FeartheDeer might be the best rallying cry in the NBA. Mirotic’s beard might be the second best in the league. Thibs might be coaching for his life. He’s better than Kidd. #Chicagoin6
Two teams who circled the toilet bowl since the All-Star Break. 13 wins a piece. 31 losses combined. Yuck. Sorry Wizards fans. Randy Wittman will coach his way back into his job. Again.
Two of the top five players from the season on the same court. Two of the top five crowds in the league. Steph’s crew just happens to be better than the Brow’s and so are Steph’s fans.#GSWin5
Will Playoff Rondo show up? Will Harden and Dwight coexist? Will C. Parsons get his revenge? Can Carlisle coach his way into the second round? So many questions. #Houstonin6
The two hottest teams in the land. Two of the best PGs in the land. One team knows how to win and another team has no idea. #SASin7
There might not be enough room for all the chips on all the shoulders in this game. Blazers injuries might haunt them. But four games in Portland might be the deciding factor. #Blazersin7