After taking a day off Saturday upon returning from Philadelphia, the Celtics were back at it Sunday in Waltham, making some preparations and adjustments for the pivotal Game 5 Monday night against the Sixers. The biggest development of the day however may have been the level of concern Doc Rivers showed about Avery Bradley’s shoulder and yet another dislocation he suffered during Game 4.
“It came out. It went right back in, which is crazy,” Rivers said. “It’s a tough thing, what he’s going through. A lot of players would not be playing.”
Doc also acknowledged that due to the injury, Bradley’s postseason play had been rollercoaster ride production wise, although his defensive value has continued to shine through, as evidenced by the Game 4 comeback Philadelphia mounted with Bradley in foul trouble in the third quarter during Game 4.
“He’s been up and down. Defensively, he’s been very effective, but offensively, he’s been on and off. The Sixers are absolutely making him score,” Rivers said. “They are leaving him, they are sagging the paint. They understand what’s going on with his shoulder too, and their thought is, if guy’s got a bad shoulder, he’s got to make shots, he’s got to finish in the paint. I think that’s the one thing we see with his shoulder, he doesn’t want to drive as much. You don’t see him in the paint as much. Because that’s the two or three times that (the shoulder has) gone out, when he’s taken the hit. And you don’t blame him. But we do need to try to get him cutting again.”
With Rivers wanting to get him more active, he also made clear it’s a fine line for Bradley to walk to continue to be out there with the injury, something Doc admires:
“It’s his first playoffs and he’s dealing with stuff. It’s just tough. It really is,” explained Rivers. “I swear, a lot of people would not be playing and the only reason that he is is because he wants to. But I am concerned at some point that he may not be able to any more. We don’t know what game that is, we don’t know if he can finish it , we could go all the way and he could play. Or tomorrow could be his last game. You really don’t know.”
In a series where Bradley is just averaging six points per game, on 36 percent shooting, including 25 percent from downtown, the team could use more offensively from their starting shooting guard. Whether he has the means to give it to them is a whole other question. Either way, keeping Avery on the floor looks to be the best move against Philadelphia’s crafty backcourt as the series pushes deeper.