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Pre-Preview Notebook: Bradley Doubtful and KG and Rondo Get Defensive

Before this year’s post season, you would usually hear the words “Bradley” and “Doubtful” in a sentence like, “it’s doubtful that Milton Bradley will act sane for an entire season” or “it’s doubtful that former Bradley star Patrick O’Bryant will ever live up to where he was drafted.  Now, however, NBA fans are getting used to Celtics guard Avery Bradley being doubtful for playoff games with a troublesome shoulder.  A shoulder that doesn’t seem to want to stay located as nature intended.

From Mark Murphy, Boston Herald:

As Rivers said earlier this week, Bradley has also injured his right shoulder, perhaps as a result of attempting to compensate for his left, which has popped out of joint at least three times in the last three weeks.

“I’m just frustrated,” said Bradley. “All I can do is try to get stronger and improve for my teammates. I wouldn’t say it’s getting worse. It’s been the same. I just have to try to get stronger. I’m just taking it day by day.”

Rivers certainly didn’t sound encouraged.

“(Bradley is) a little better, but not much,” said the Celtics coach. “I don’t think he’ll play tonight but we’ll find out. He won’t do anything in shootaround before. But we’ll let him warm up, see if he can warm up, and then we’ll go from there.”

There are not a whole lot of things more frustrating for a successful young player than to be temporarily derailed by a nagging injury. Bradley was just starting to get used to the bright lights of the playoffs and was really starting to play with confidence. The Celtics can beat the Sixers without Bradley so it’s best he rest while the can afford it.

The good news, as Murphy adds later in his report, is that the Celtics won’t have to go into Game 6 without Ray Allen and Greg Stiemsma. Both Celtic contributors are as good as they’ll ever be this post season with their respective lower leg injuries.


Luckily for the C’s, the news isn’t all bad, as our good buddy Chris Forsberg over at ESPN Boston reports that Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett made the NBA All-Defensive Second Team:

Rondo earned 29 points off nine first-team and 11 second-team votes; Garnett finished with 26 points on 8 first-team votes and 10 second-team votes.

The voting panel consisted of the NBA’s 30 head coaches, who were asked to select NBA All-Defensive first and second teams by position. Coaches were not permitted to vote for players from their own team. Two points were awarded for a first-team vote and one point was awarded for a second-team vote.

It seems really odd that Kevin Garnett garnered fewer first team votes than Rondo considering Rondo is more known for being an underachieving reacher and Garnett an absolute, game-changing defensive juggernaut.  Also strange, is Avery Bradley’s absence from the list.  If he can remain healthy, he should be a mainstay on this list for years to come.


That’s it for now.  I’ll be back in a few hours with tonight’s open thread.

  • skeeds

    This Rondo reaching policy that you mention had me scratching my head. He's doing it a LOT this year, for no apparent reason. Why would he allow opponents blow by him, (something that normally only 3-4 NBA guards could do) to go for a reach around steal? It doesn't make sense, it's not something he'd keep doing without obvious benefit…

    But if you look closely, it's all planned. That pest reaches his (ridiculously long) arm around, and either tips the ball, or scares the handler, making him take a step away. The C's excellent help defense anticipates this, and usually whoever's driving to the hoop ends up with a KG shaped wall in front of him and Rondo on his back. That's where Rondo's steals come from.

    Naturally, this only works when your help defense is KG, who can both help, stay on his man, box out, cover the weakside 3, block the shot and grab his own rebound while retaining a steady flow of trashtalking. Still. Clever move.

    • CG12

      That's just it – Rondo does get steals by doing his patented poke-from-behind move, but far more often he is left trailing his man by a lot, not really trying to get back into the play. The bigs then need to help, setting off a rotation chain reaction where everyone has to scramble to cut off penetration. Rondo's gambling puts tremendous pressure on the Cs bigs and is wildly less effective than Bradley's much more containment-oriented perimeter D.

  • skeeds

    Yes, this really only works when everyone's on engaged, and playing extremely focused. The last 2 games are a great sample. Game 5, 3rd quarter, Rondo's "loose" defense combined with awareness from everyone, turned the game around.
    Game 6, Rondo's loose defense was more of a euphemism for "give up on Holiday as soon as he dribbles", and no one was helping properly either. Holiday and Williams must've scored a combined 10-12 layups in KG's or Bass' faces.

    So why didn't Rondo tighten up his face to face D if that didn't work? Same reason he gets stuck on screens and seems to always be a step behind. He is BORED. We know he can be a near perfect 1-1 defender, we've seen him shut down Rose, Westbrook, Jennings, Wall, guys twice as fast as any 76ers PG… Either he's hurt, or someone needs to slap him around a bit to wake him up.

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