Avery Bradley was expected to play heading into last night's game, but after returning Monday night from a strained achilles that sidelined him for four games Bradley felt soreness return in his leg prior to the game and the Celtics decided to hold him out to prevent further damage. Brad Stevens believes that perhaps AB returned too quickly from his injury:
#Celtics coach Brad Stevens: I could see Avery Bradley (Achilles) missing more time. He was sore. Maybe he came back too soon.— Scott Souza (@Scott_Souza) January 19, 2017
Losing Bradley for any extended stretch of time is troublesome, as his loss is a huge detriment on both sides of the ball. He's one of, if not the, best on ball defender in the league - 1st team all defense last season - and this year he's having the best offensive season of his career. He's averaging 17.7 points and shooting 40.9% from three, both career highs. He also leads the Celtics in rebounding at 6.9 per game, which is sad but a huge loss nonetheless for a team desperate on the boards.
When Bradley isn't in the lineup, it puts a big burden on the rest of the offense to make up the difference:
In five games without Avery Bradley this year, Isaiah Thomas is averaging 36.5 a game.— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) January 19, 2017
He's got 31 now.
6:38 left...in the 3rd quarter.
Now although Isaiah Thomas has been electric, and has bailed us out often at the end of games, he can't be expected to carry the load every single night. With Bradley out last night Isaiah had himself a great offensive effort to keep them in the game (39 points), but he didn't have his usual 4th-quarter magic (2-9 in the 4th). Ultimately though the Celtics were unable to get stops at all, as the struggling Knicks hung 117 points on a flat defensive effort from Boston.
The Celtics managed to go 3-1 in the wake of Bradley's last string of missed games, but over the past two seasons (including last years playoff series with Atlanta) they are a meager 8-8 without their starting shooting guard in the lineup. It's very unlikely he'll be back in the lineup against Portland this Saturday, but his status beyond that is unclear.
Photo Credit - Charles Krupa/Associated Press
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkAL401 Mark Allison 1/19/2017 11:07:00 AM Tweet Edit