Celtics

Bradley holds his own in first start

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Bradley holds his own in first start

BOSTON Avery Bradley will not be confused anytime soon with Rajon Rondo.

And while his play wasn't good enough to help the Boston Celtics defeat Phoenix, there are indeed positives for the second-year guard to take from Friday's 79-71 loss to the Suns.

Bradley finished with a Rondo-like 10 points, but only chipped in one assist to go with three steals and four rebounds.

Coach Doc Rivers thought Bradley did a decent job filling in for the team's two-time all-star.

"I actually wanted him to be a little more aggressive," Rivers said. "Defensively he was, I thought, terrific. All night."

The biggest difference between him and Rondo is obvious: Court vision.

Rondo has a knack for seeing plays before they fully develop, while Bradley, well, doesn't.

"But he ran the team as much as he could," Rivers said. "So I was really happy with him."

Bradley was pleased with his performance, although a victory he said would have made it even better.

For both Rivers and Bradley, the best part about him starting for an injured Rondo (right wrist), is that both have a better feel for how Bradley will respond when forced to play with the team's core guys.

Of course, Rondo's running of the offense was actually aided by Rondo who was on the bench in street clothes.

"Certain game situations. Pushing the ball. The tempo. Slowing it down when we need to score. How we need to score. Things like that," Bradley said. "Rondo kept telling me throughout the whole game on the bench. He was telling me things that I need to do and he was very helpful enough in helping me know what I need to do throughout the game."

And while it didn't materialize on Friday, Bradley's time with the starters on Friday night should pay dividends for him and the Celtics in the future.

"It was valuable experience for him out there tonight to be able to go out there and play the minutes he played," said Paul Pierce.

Kyrie practices, expected to be back Sunday

Kyrie practices, expected to be back Sunday

WALTHAM, Mass. – Kyrie Irving was able to participate in all of Celtics practice on Saturday and is expected to be back on the floor when the C's host the Orlando Magic on Sunday.

Irving did not play in an 89-80 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday because of soreness in his left shoulder.

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He will continue to receive treatments for the shoulder, “but I’m just ready to go back out there and play,” Irving said. “I’ve had a few days to reset and do the things needed to put myself in a great position to go out there and play.”

Irving said earlier that the shoulder had been bothering him for a couple weeks and an overtime loss to New Orleans on Tuesday didn’t help matters.

Still just 25 but recently named to his fifth All-Star team, Irving’s return could not come at a better time for the Celtics.

Boston (34-12) has the best record in the Eastern Conference, but the C's are riding a two-game losing streak, which is only the third time this season they've lost back-to-back games.

Arguably Boston’s biggest issue in the loss to the Sixers was an offense that struggled in several phases.

Not having Irving available certainly made matters worse, but there were a number of elements of play that with Irving or not, coach Brad Stevens recognizes his team must make a significant improvement in if they are to remain among the top teams in the NBA.

Stevens talked extensively after the loss and again on Saturday about the team not playing hard enough on offense.

“I don’t want to take away from the teams we’re playing against. They’re really guarding us hard,” Stevens said. “But we’ve got to execute harder. The one thing that’s pretty obvious in person and when you watch on film, is we just didn’t play hard enough on offense which is kind of unique. That’s the way I felt.”

Irving said there needs to be an increase in emphasis on their offense, which would make the game easier for everyone.

“Our spacing, our cutting … just playing the game kind of within the game, understanding our talents and where we can make the game easier,” Irving said. “We have very unique talents on this team. When you’re trying to put that together and guys are coming back into the lineup and getting their rhythm still and guys are in and out sometimes … big picture, down the stretch, we’re going to need everyone to be on the same page.”

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Celtics sign Jarrell Eddie to 10-day contract

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Celtics sign Jarrell Eddie to 10-day contract

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics have signed Jarell Eddie to a 10-day contract.

The 6-foot-7 forward, who has spent two seasons in the NBA with Washington and Phoenix, has appeared in 31 NBA games.

More recently, he played with the Gatorade League’s Windy City Bulls. Appearing in 10 games, Eddie, 26, averaged 17.2 points while shooting 49.5 percent from the field and 50.7 percent from 3-point range along with 4.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists.

He will wear jersey No. 9.