Avery Bradley is highly unlikely to return for the rest of this series
Earlier today, Brad Stevens addressed the media and confirmed that Avery Bradley has a strained hamstring and it looks unlikely that he will return at all during this series. Via Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe:
After straining his left hamstring in the fourth quarter of the Celtics’ 102-101 loss on Saturday, Bradley had remained hopeful that two days of rest and treatment would be enough to recover. When he needed a staff member to help him put on his socks before limping out of the locker room with a crutch, though, he did not look like someone who was 48 hours away from a fast break.
On Sunday, coach Brad Stevens said that Bradley’s strain was “pretty significant,” and that it was doubtful that he would play again in this series, which could stretch for two more weeks.
“We lost another guy that brings it every night,” Smart said, “and everybody else has to step up now.”
Obviously this is not good news for the Celtics and it means that more pressure will have to be put on the younger guys to step up in Bradley's absence. Marcus Smart will likely take Bradley's place in the lineup and there will possibly be more playing time for the young guys like Terry Rozier and RJ Hunter. However, the Celtics could take another approach of playing their big-men more as well:
In Game 1, the Celtics primarily used guard-heavy, skilled lineups, as they looked to space the floor and break out in transition. To proceed with that approach, though, would require more extensive opportunities for inexperienced players such as Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter, and James Young.
Alternatively, the Celtics could deploy a lineup consisting of more traditional frontcourt players, an area where they do have veteran depth. And there is at least one indicator that that might be an approach worth considering. Bradley missed the Celtics’ 106-93 home win over the Hawks on Nov. 13 because of a bruised leg.
It remains to be seen what exactly the Celts will do to fill Bradley's void but we can expect and trust Brad Stevens to make the best move for the team. While we will definitely miss AB's defense and offense, Marcus Smart can fill in the defensive void and the rest of the team will help out on the offensive end. It will be very interesting to see how the Celtics will come out in Game 2 to respond to this card of adversity that's been dealt to them.
Image Credit: Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP
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