Celtics

Battle rages for backup guard spot

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Battle rages for backup guard spot

BOSTON The Boston Celtics are clearly looking to get younger at a number of positions. Nowhere is this more apparent than the battle being waged now for the backup shooting guard job, behind Ray Allen.

While there are a handful of Celtics likely to see some action as Allen's backup this season, two of the younger contenders - rookie E'Twaun Moore and second-year guard Avery Bradley - certainly made a strong case for the job during Friday's intra-squad scrimmage at the TD Garden.

With the game undecided with seconds to play, Moore, playing for the Green team which was comprised primarily of backups, nailed a 3-pointer in the final seconds to put them ahead.

But Bradley, not to be outdone, countered with a baseline, game-winning jumper as the final horn sounded to lift the White team to a 52-51 win.

After the game, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers talked about how both players are very much in the mix for playing time behind Allen whose minutes, according to Rivers, will be cut back this season.

"Somebody will win it," Rivers said of the backup job behind Allen. "And we're going to let them. We're honest with guys. There's a spot there, and all of you aren't going to play it. So it's been a competitive camp because of that."

Of all the new faces, Moore has arguably been the biggest surprise thus far.

A late second-round pick in last June's NBA draft by the Celtics, Moore has been among the more consistent performers for the C's thus far in training camp.

That confidence and poise is in part because he spent four years in college.

"I was basically taking what they were giving us," Moore said. "Just having confidence can lead you a long way. And I had confidence to knock down shots when I was open."

Bradley's confidence seems to be on the rise as well.

It certainly was in the final moments of Friday's game.

But afterward, Bradley acknowledged that the game-winning play was not the one drawn up.

"It was supposed to be a lob," Bradley said. "I wasn't in it at all. I was a decoy. I was open and Quis (Marquis Daniels) passed it to me."

It was a great ending to a game that didn't get off to the best of starts for Bradley.

"Avery I thought struggled for the first three-fourths (of the scrimmage), just trying to do too much, went to fast," Rivers said. "That's where you see, what we see. But he does have the ability to get to the basket. He does have the ability to get fouled. And that last shot, that's just a great shot."

However, Rivers said he was more impressed with Moore's 3-pointer.

"That was a play when he had to make a decision," Rivers said. "Shoot it, or throw it to Ray. Most of the time, even though he's open, most guys would throw it to Ray. And he didn't hesitate. That's what I like about him. He can really shoot the basketball."

Which certainly bodes well in his quest to become Allen's backup this season.

"I guess, it's a wide open spot," Moore said. "I just have to keep coming to work everyday. Nothing is going to be given to me. I gotta earn it. I just have to keep working hard and hopefully get some playing time.

Bradley echoed similar sentiments.

"I know everybody is going to be working hard for that position," Bradley said. "I know I'm going to come in every day and work hard and do everything that Doc tells me to do. Whoever gets the position, gets it. But at the end of the day, I'm going to come in and I'm always going to grind and I'm always going to work hard."

Agent doesn't expect Gordon Hayward to return this season, but foresees full recovery

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Agent doesn't expect Gordon Hayward to return this season, but foresees full recovery

PHILADELPHIA --  Only hours removed from surgery to repair a dislocated left ankle and fractured fibia injury, Gordon Hayward’s agent tells NBC Sports Boston that his client is already attacking the rehab process.
 
“We expect him to have a full recovery,” agent Mark Bartelstein said via phone Thursday.
 
That said, Bartelstein also noted that it’s unlikely that the 6-foot-8 forward will return to action this season.
 
“We don’t have a timetable or anything like that for him,” Bartelstein said. “It’s about getting better, healthier every day.”
 
The Celtics released a statement Thursday afternoon indicating Hayward underwent successful “bony and ligamentous stabilization surgery for the fracture dislocation of his left ankle.”
 
Performing the surgery was Drs. Mark Slovenkai and Brian McKeon at New England Baptist Hospital, with Dr. Anthony Schena assisting followed by consultations with Dr. David Porter of Methodist Sports Medicine in Indianapolis.
 
Hayward suffered the injury in the first quarter of Boston’s 102-99 loss at Cleveland on Tuesday when he was attempting to catch a lob pass from Kyrie Irving.
 
On the play, Hayward landed awkwardly on his ankle, which contorted in a way where it was clear immediately that he would be out of action for a significant amount of time.
 
Since the injury, Hayward has received an amazing amount of outpouring of well-wishes and prayers from Kobe Bryant, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski and a cast of other current and former athletes. Both Edelman and Gronkowski know all too well about the challenges associated with returning to play after an injury.
 
"Go into rehab just like you go into anything else: dominate it," Gronkowski said. "Come back when you feel ready. Come back when you’re 100 percent. He wouldn’t be where he is now if he wasn’t a hard worker.”
 
And then there are the Celtics fans, whose support has been impressive.
 
Hayward delivered a pre-recorded message to the fans at the TD Garden that was aired on the Jumbotron high above half court prior to Wednesday night’s game against Milwaukee. Even after the video ended, there was no escaping Hayward’s presence was still very much in the building and on the minds of fans.
 
At one point in the 108-100 Celtics loss on Wednesday, Boston fans began a “Gor-don Hay-ward!” chant that soon swept its way throughout the TD Garden.
 
“It has been a bit overwhelming the amount of support that Gordon has received,” Bartelstein said. “It touched him in so many ways. The outpouring he got, certainly all the fans in the arena last night, from players around the league … it meant the world to him. And obviously, going through something like this, it’s devastating. So, to see so many reach out to him, it means the world to him and his family; there’s no doubt about it.”