Bradley's hustle helps swing momentum in Celtics win vs. Hornets

Bradley's hustle helps swing momentum in Celtics win vs. Hornets

BOSTON – When it comes to gauging Avery Bradley’s impact on the Boston Celtics, there’s a ton of analytics numbers you can uncover that will illustrate his value. 

He’s an elite defensive player who was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive First team. 

And offensively, we’ve witnessed his improvement every year he has been in the NBA to where he has gone from being a cutter scoring primarily on lay-ups, to a knock-down shooter from all points on the floor. 


But on Friday against Charlotte, it was Bradley’s hustle for a loose ball – a statistic you seldom hear talked about when it comes to keys to success - that ultimately swung the game’s momentum in Boston’s favor as the Celtics pulled away for a 96-88 win. 

Bradley, who came into the game leading the team in loose balls recovered with 28, picked one up in the third quarter following a Jonas Jerebko steal that he immediately cashed in for a 3-pointer that cut Charlotte’s lead to 60-57. 

Boston went on to score seven of the game’s next nine points to go ahead, 64-62. 

So while fans might praise the high scoring of Isaiah Thomas (he had a game-high 26 points after missing the previous four games with a right groin injury) or the inside dominance of Al Horford (he scored eight of his 18 points in the third).

But the Celtics know as important as those plays were to their win, hustle plays like the loose ball that Bradley tracked down in front of their bench are often what separates winning from losing.

“We always say the game honors those plays,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.

Bradley’s shot was part of an 18-4 run by Boston which wiped out Charlotte’s lead which peaked at 12. 

“That was a big play by Avery, the save and the three,” Boston’s Terry Rozier told CSNNE.com. “We fed off of that and kept rolling with it.”

And for a Celtics team that’s still trying to find its identity, Bradley’s play was an example of just how important great effort can be when it comes to making plays that lead to winning games. 

“That’s what we have to be; that’s what the Celtics are all about and that is how we are supposed to play,” said Boston big man Al Horford who had 18 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots. “We need to have more of those plays and be more consistent with it.”

NBCSB Breakfast podcast: Maybe next year will be the Celtics' year

NBC Sports Boston Illustration

NBCSB Breakfast podcast: Maybe next year will be the Celtics' year

1:31 - With the results of Kyrie Irving’s second opinion on he knee looming, the Celtic’s season is certainly up in the air. A. Sherrod Blakely, Chris Mannix, Kyle Draper and Gary Tanguay debate how and if Kyrie should be used if he returns.

6:02 - Back in October Michael Felger prematurely said the Bruins season was over. The B’s marketing team featured Felger in an ad for playoff tickets now that the Bruins have clinched the playoffs. Felger, Trenni and Gary react to the commercial and discuss the Bruins playoff chances.

11:47 - The Patriots are making moves! on Tursday the Pats made deals with LaAdrian Waddle, Marquis Flowers and Patrick Chung. Phil Perry, Michael Holley, Troy Brown and Tom Curran discuss how despite these moves, the Patriots should still be in search of a left tackle.

Greg Monroe looking forward to his 2nd taste of playoffs

File Photo

Greg Monroe looking forward to his 2nd taste of playoffs

BOSTON – We live in a world filled with success stories that came about by accident. 

The invention of the microwave oven.

Post-It notes.

The creation of potato chips.

The Boston Celtics’ game-winning play against Oklahoma City earlier this week qualfies; a play in which there were multiple miscues made by the Celtics prior to Marcus Morris’ game-winning shot. 


All these Celtics injuries have made Brad Stevens a mad scientist of sorts with some unusual lineups that may be on display tonight against the guard-centric Portland Trail Blazers. 

In Boston’s 100-99 win over the Thunder on Tuesday, we saw Stevens utilize a lineup with Al Horford and Greg Monroe, in four different stints.

Monroe, who had 17 points off the bench - the most he has scored as a Celtic -  enjoyed playing with Horford.

“Al’s so smart. He’s seen it all in this league,” Monroe told NBC Sports Boston. “He’s an all-star. Very cerebral player, unselfish. So it’s easy playing with him. He can space, drive, make plays. I feel like I can make plays, driving. It’s fun playing with him. I look forward to getting out there with him more.”

Horford had similar praise for playing with Monroe.

“Coach (Brad Stevens) made a great move bringing Greg back in, in the fourth, playing us together,” Horford said. “He made some great plays, passing the ball and just … timely plays. It’s one of those things, the more we play with each other the more comfortable we’ll get. I thought it was very positive.”

Monroe’s role has become significantly more important with the season-ending injury (torn meniscus, left knee) to Daniel Theis. And his ability to play well with various lineups will only improve Boston’s chances of weathering this latest storm of injuries which comes on the eve of the playoffs. 

And while there’s a certain amount of pleasure all players take in being on a playoff-bound team, Monroe understands better than most NBA veterans just how special it is to be headed towards the postseason.

In his eighth season, this will only be Monroe’s second time participating in the playoffs. 

The first time? 

That was last year, with the Milwaukee Bucks. 

“This is what everybody plays for, I hope,” Monroe said. “This is what I play for, to get into the postseason, make a run. It’s the best situation. I’ve been through a lot in my career, this year. I’m grateful. I don’t take anything for granted. I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team.”

And he has done that lately.

Monroe comes into tonight’s game having scored in double figures each of the last four games, a season high for the 6-foot-11 center. 

Having spent most of his NBA career watching instead of participating in the playoffs, Monroe is out to prove that he can in fact be a significant contributor to a team that’s postseason-bound.

“For sure. You have to have a little chip, a little fire, at least in my eyes,” Monroe said. “I’ve never doubted myself. It’s about being between those lines and being the best player I can be. That’s what I’m focused on.”