Bruins

All eyes on Avery Bradley

720054.jpg

All eyes on Avery Bradley

INDIANAPOLIS Avery Bradley is no longer just another name on the Boston Celtics roster.

The 6-foot-2 combo guard is starting to see teams devise more ways to try and limit the impact he makes defensively.

That was indeed the case in Boston's 93-86 loss to Chicago, and there's a good chance you'll see some if not all of the same tactics used by the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

"A lot of teams know I like to pressure people," Bradley said. "They like to set a lot of screens on me, and not just any type of screen - but hard screens. So it's something I'm going to have to put up with."

Throughout Thursday's game, Bradley took more than his share of hard screens set by Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and just about every other big man for the Bulls.

But Chicagoslowed him down in other ways as well.

On more than one occasion following a made basket by the Celtics, a Chicago big man would basically wrap around Bradley in a manner that created a little more breathing room for their point guards against Bradley's suffocating ball pressure.

That adjustment made it tougher for Bradley to keep close tabs on the Chicago guards, and it also factored heavily in him being in foul trouble.

"It's frustrating, but I'm going to continue to bring it every single time," Bradley said. "If I get a foul called on me or if I get scored on, I'm still going to keep bringing it to my opponent."

And as far as the tactics used by Chicago's big men to free up their guards, Bradley said, "stuff like that happens. All I can do is control what I do, and just keep going in and playing the game hard."

True, but it speaks to how far Bradley has come not only in the eyes of the Celtics, but also opponents.

"He's terrific," said Chicago head coach and former Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau. "He's shown he can guard multiple positions. His ball pressure is great. He can guard guys bigger than him. He's a multiple effort guy."

While Bradley's strength as a defender does make him somewhat unique in terms of young NBA guards, his game has to evolve just like a young guard who can score lots of points soon finds himself a higher priority on the opposing team's scouting report.

"I'm going to make adjustments," Bradley said. "Just like they learned how to get me off my guy, I'm going to have to learn how to get through the screens."

Rask out tonight as he recovers from practice collision

bruins-tuukka-rask-032316.jpg

Rask out tonight as he recovers from practice collision

BRIGHTON, Mass – The string of injuries for the Bruins continues as Tuukka Rask (upper body) is out for tonight’s game against the Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden after getting trucked by Anders Bjork in practice Wednesday.

Rask was wobbly-legged while being helped off the ice after the violent collision and the 21-year-old Bjork looked like he’d also needed a couple of stitches on his chin after bloodying his practice jersey.

MORE:

The big concern is Rask still being evaluated by Bruins medical personnel for a possible concussion. It will be Anton Khudobin stepping in place for him against the Canucks with Providence Bruins netminder Zane McIntyre serving as his backup.

“Tuukka is out tonight. He’s going to get reevaluated today and we’ll have a better idea tomorrow,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Anton will start [against the Canucks].”

Clearly, Khudobin didn’t like seeing his goaltending partner get drilled in a spirited practice, but the 32-year-old is clearly feeling confident after a strong camp and a winning season debut last week against the Arizona Coyotes.

“You don’t want to see that, but at the same time we’ve got to keep moving forward and hopefully he’s going to get better soon,” said Khudobin, who stopped 29-of-31 shots in the win over Arizona last weekend. “I feel good. Camp was good and everything is fine, and I’ve started better than last year. My role is just day-to-day. Today is a game day and hopefully, you get a good result, and then tomorrow is another new day.”

Otherwise, it looks like the Bruins will at least be getting some of their healthy bodies back with David Backes in the lineup and Patrice Bergeron a game-time decision against the Canucks. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings based on Wednesday’s practice:

Marchand-Bergeron-Bjork
DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak
Schaller-Kuraly-Backes
Beleskey-Nash-Agostino
 
Chara-McAvoy
Miller-Carlo
Krug-McQuaid

Khudobin 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Are Red Sox playing a waiting game before naming their new manager?

Are Red Sox playing a waiting game before naming their new manager?

BOSTON — As soon as the American League Championship Series ends, the Red Sox could make a move for their manager.

Industry sources continue to expect Astros bench coach Alex Cora will be the Sox’ pick. No offer had been officially made as of midday Wednesday, one source close to the situation said. But the belief is such an offer waits out of respect to the Astros-Yankees ALCS that can end no later than Saturday if the series goes a full seven games. 

MORE:

“Not a doubt it is him,” the source said.

Sunday and Monday would both be off days ahead of the Tuesday night start of the World Series. That leads to the potential for at least a Red Sox announcement of Cora, if not a press conference, before the Fall Classic begins. (If the Astros advance to the World Series, it may be harder to have Cora in Boston for any length of time.)

All those who know Cora praise his ability to connect with players. The former Red Sox infielder is good friends with Dustin Pedroia. Cora’s previous knowledge of the Boston market works in his favor, as well, as does his mettle handling the media. Some question his readiness as a first-time manager, considering he would be taking over a team with great win-now expectations and complicated clubhouse dynamics.

Nothing takes the place of experience and there is such a thing as being too close to players. Ultimately, if the Sox do land Cora, 41, they would be adding the hottest up-and-coming managerial prospect who’s available on the market. The everybody-wants-him reputation could give Cora added cachet with players and certainly becomes a public-relations win for those fans following the search.

The Sox interviewed Ron Gardenhire on Wednesday. Gardenhire was the third candidate the Sox talked to and could well be the last. Cora met with the Sox on Sunday, followed by Brad Ausmus on Monday.