Over the past few weeks, the Boston Celtics haven’t been the team neither fans or opponents have been accustomed to seeing. With some key acquisitions in the off season and the return of the big three (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo), perhaps the biggest disappointment so far this young NBA season is within themselves. But with the return of third year man Avery Bradley on Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, there is hope the team may take a big step in returning to their defensive ways.
Boston.com reported on Wednesday that Bradley practiced with the team after spending seven months rehabbing his surgically repaired shoulders. With Bradley in the lineup last year alongside Rajon Rondo, the Celtics developed a formidable backcourt with Bradley’s improvement. Celtics head coach Doc Rivers complimented the 22-year-old guard as a top-five on-ball defender who was such a key factor for the Celtics during their run last year that it sent Ray Allen to mainly being a contributor off the bench.
Rivers believes the part of the Celtics getting back to where they want to be is on the defensive end of the court.
“We have to be a better defensive team consistently. It’s amazing; when we win games, we hold teams to 9 points and 41 percent on field goals. When we lose, they’re scoring 103 points and shooting 48 percent.”
There is no better example of the team’s lack of defense than this recent west coast road trip where the team went 0-3 and got trounced by the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings, three teams that past Celtic teams are used to handling.
Overall the team is 17th in the NBA allowing 9.1 points per game and has given up more than seven 3-pointers per game which ranks them 15th in the league.
Rivers hopes Avery Bradley will be the jumpstart the Celtics need to turn a 14-16 season around and get back to playing Celtic basketball. Bradley is ready and promises to play hard.
“I’m just going to go out and play hard,” Bradley said. “That’s all I can do. That’s how I play. Go out there and leave everything on the floor. Tomorrow [Wednesday night], that’s what you guys will see.”
It may take a little time for Avery Bradley to get back into basketball shape, but when he does, he should once again be a key contributor for the Boston Celtics.