Doc Rivers opened his media availability session on Friday, confirming reports over the last few days that Avery Bradley is out for the playoffs with his shoulder injury.
“He’s having surgery today, so he’s out for the playoffs,” Rivers acknowledged. “It’s disappointing. Obviously, when a player goes down it’s disappointing, especially on what Avery has given us this year. His growth this year has been terrific. It’s been great. He’s become a very valuable piece to our basketball team.”
With Bradley out in the interim, Rivers talked about the chain effect missing his guard will have on his team’s lineup, especially against Philadelphia in particular.
“His ability to guard the best guard at the 1 or 2 has really taken so much pressure off [Rajon] Rondo in particular,” Rivers explained. “Without him, Rondo has to go back to that role and run the team, and that’s hard. That’s hard to do, especially against the team we are playing, who has two guards that attack. Rondo doesn’t have a lot of breaks [now]. That’s the way it is.”
Despite it all, Rivers is offering no excuses for this team heading into Game 7 tomorrow, who are dealing with their fourth season-ending injury of the season.
“We’ve been a team all year, stuff happens, you deal with it and you just move forward,” Rivers said. “That’s who we’ve been, and that’s who we need to be tomorrow.”
CH’s Take: The only new news out of the story is the fact Bradley is undergoing surgery so soon, which again signals just how severe the shoulder injury had become for Avery. For now though, the onus stay on Rondo, Ray Allen, Mickael Pietrus and Keyon Dooling (who is missing practice today home sick) to contain Philadelphia’s explosive backcourt. Doc made adjustments in pick and roll coverage in Game 3 which helped a lot, but the Sixers have countered, bringing themselves back to tie the series at three games a piece.
I guess my biggest question here is whether Doc will go deeper into his bench for Game 7 to look for a defensive spark, if his regular rotation aren’t able to contain Holiday, Williams, and Turner themselves. We saw a couple minutes of Marquis Daniels in Game 6, and both he and Sasha Pavlovic are big and able defenders on the bench who should be able to guard the likes of Evan Turner while out there. On his home floor, especially if Keyon is not at full strength, I’m curious to see whether Daniels (the most likely candidate) gets another shot. Either way though, Allen, Rondo and company are going to have to do a better job than they did in Game 6 of keeping Holiday and Williams out of the paint.