The Boston Celtics appear to be peaking at just the right time of year. The Green and White have gone 7-2 over their last nine contests. A new, key part of their on-court success is second-year combo guard Avery Bradley.
When 36-year-old, 10X All-Star guard Ray Allen was recently sidelined for a six-game stretch with a sore left ankle, coach Doc Rivers called on the 21-year-old sophomore Bradley to start in his place. Since joining the first unit Bradley has proven he’s an above average off the ball defender and that he can score from the 1 or 2 spot in the backcourt.
Bradley’s production has skyrocketed with his increased playing time. Over the last 9-games he’s averaged 13.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg and 1.1 steals per game in 35.9 minutes, all significantly higher than his season averages of 5.9 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.6 steals and 19.2 minutes per game.
In his first start on March 25th in a win at home over the Washington Wizards, the University of Texas product scored a career-high 23 points. On March 28th in a win over the Utah Jazz in Beantown, #0 logged a career-high with 43 minutes. Doc Rivers has exhibited increased confidence in the ultra-athletic Bradley. Even after Allen returned to action against the Spurs, Rivers moved Bradley back into the starting lineup for the subsequent three games.
As the veteran Celtics continue their surge up the Eastern Conference’s playoff-seeding ladder, look for Bradley to gain confidence with each start, accelerate his learning curve and use his above-average athleticism to fill up the stat sheet at both ends.