Celtics

Bradley recovering, shooting for mid-December return

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Bradley recovering, shooting for mid-December return

BOSTON Before the preseason finale on Sunday against the Sixers, Avery Bradley stood behind the three-point line in front of the Celtics bench and took shots.

Shot. Swish. Shot. Swish. Shot. Swish.

It may not seem like a big deal, but for the third-year guard recovering from not one, but two offseason shoulder surgeries, it's a big step in the right direction.

Bradley has been taking shots every other day for three weeks and can feel the improvement from when he started. He's getting back to where he was prior to the surgeries and the basketball-less summer that followed.

"My legs are starting to get tired because I'm not used to working out doing those hard work outs, but I'm getting there," Bradley said. "My condition is up, I'm in the gym twice a day. I'm trying to do everything I can to come back stronger."

Bradley weighs in at 192 pounds the most he's weighed ever. The problem, though, is that it's not muscle. Bradley says the medication he was previously on made him lose his appetite (he weighed around 180 pounds at one point). Now off the meds, he's back to eating again, and starting to build muscle tone.

"Eating right, working out every day Now I've been eating a lot better and I feel a lot better. I feel a lot stronger. I felt weak during the summer; I couldn't do anything."

Bradley says the team is still aiming for a mid-December return. While he's cleared to shoot, he's not cleared for contact and hasn't done any weightlifting. Building up arm strength is the next step.

"I can't put any weight on my shoulders right now," he said, admitting that lifting dumbbells was too much.

Bradley had come into his own alongside Rajon Rondo in the second half of last season. The improvement in his game was a major factor in the decision to bring Ray Allen off the bench. Even when Bradley initially separated his shoulder, it was hard for him to sit out.

"The adrenaline, and not only that but not wanting to let your teammates down there was a mix of that that's why I kept playing," he said. "But it hurt really bad. It got to the point where I couldn't do it anymore because you just pull one of my shoulders, just pull it out."

Now, the shoulders are on the mend and Bradley is eager to get back on the court with his teammates. His role upon return is yet to be determined, but it's not something he's worried about.

"It's up to Doc, It doesn't matter to me," he said. "I just have to be ready for my team. If I'm starting, I'm starting. If I'm not, I'm not. I just have to be prepared for what Doc wants me to do, and I'm going to. Like I tell everybody, I'm going to come back stronger than last year."

Until then, the Celtics will benefit from being extremely deep at the guard position. The competition is fierce, and watching it unfold from the sideline is obviously frustrating. But Bradley is keeping a positive attitude about it.

"It's definitely hard not being able to start the season out with your teammates and show them what you've worked on during the summer. I didn't have a chance to do those things. So it was hard for me but I'm a firm believer in everything happens for a reason so I think that maybe this helps me get stronger."

Now, it gets real for revamped Celtics

Now, it gets real for revamped Celtics

CLEVELAND – For the Celtics, the preseason went about as well as expected.
 
No serious, long-term injuries.

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They won every preseason game, even one in which the team’s second unit played the role of starters.
 
And the chemistry concerns with so many new players, while very real, didn’t seem to be that big an issue.
 
Still, as good as the Celtics may feel about where they stand, they know it means absolutely nothing unless they get it done against elite, NBA-caliber competition.
 
The Cleveland Cavaliers.
 
Opening night.
 
It doesn’t get much more challenging than that.
 
And for the Celtics, win or lose, this is going to be a game for them to build upon going forward this season.
 
“I’m just ready to get going,” said Gordon Hayward. “A lot of things have happened this summer, a lot of buildup. I’m ready to get to the game. It’s going to be a fun matchup, for sure.”
 
Among the summer happenings was Boston and Cleveland pulling off one of the biggest blockbuster deals of the offseason with the Cavs trading Kyrie Irving to the Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic while also conveying Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick and Miami’s 2020 second-round pick to complete the deal.
 
Having spent his first six seasons with the Cavaliers, there’s a certain amount of corporate knowledge that the 25-year-old Irving brings to tonight’s matchup.
 
“I know a lot about them, they know a lot about me,” Irving said. “There’s plenty of film on all of us, but specifically going back and understanding the way we played last year when I played with them and now how they’re playing with the new guys, understanding how to implement themselves into their new system plus me implementing myself into this system...There’s definitely some benefits on our end, there are some benefits on their end. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
 
Part of the challenge for the Celtics will be developing the kind of on-court cohesion to be successful, which is easier said than done when you’re talking about getting nearly a dozen players on the same page in just a few weeks.
 
“We have good chemistry as a group,” said Al Horford. “We still have a ways to go as far as keep getting comfortable with each other and keep figuring out our spots. But we feel good with what we have. Our young guys, it’s been remarkable how quickly they’ve been able to come along and be up to date with everything. And our new guys as well. They’re up to date, they know what we need to do. They understand the game plan. It’s been good.”
 
Players aren’t the only ones eager to get to tonight’s game.
 
“To have to go into Cleveland with that level of intensity, with that level of attention, distraction, etc. is great,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “It’s great to experience that in game one, a tremendous learning experience for our group, so we’re preparing to play as well as we can. And we know that they’re really, really good. But this is..I’m looking forward to it because I want to find out where we are.”
 

'People took it the wrong way,' Isaiah says of his Ainge comments

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'People took it the wrong way,' Isaiah says of his Ainge comments

Isaiah Thomas told Sports Illustrated last week that he "might never talk to Danny [Ainge] again." And he sounded pretty bitter about his trade from the Celtics to the Cavs.

Now, on the "Road Trippin" podcast with new teammate Channing Frye and ex-Cav Richard Jefferson, Thomas, who is out until at least January with a hip injury, said those comments were misunderstood.

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“People took it the wrong way,” Thomas said. “I understand the business, I understand that we’re in position to get traded and sent to other teams and things like that. It’s just how it went down that I didn’t respect. As a man, I feel like if you respected me as much as you say you did, you would have at least informed me about what was going on before it happened. And that’s all I was talking about.

“I’m not tripping off the trade like I got traded to the Cavs and we’re going to win a championship. And at the end of the day, I’m going to be fine with that,” Thomas said. “[Ainge] sent me to an even better situation with a bigger platform. I’m blessed to be in the position, I’m grateful and I’m excited.”

The Cavs host the Celtics tonight in the season opener. 

Jae Crowder, who came to Cleveland from Boston, was also on the podcast and when Frye talked with him about players deserving communication from the front office, Thomas could be heard in the background, saying, “That’s what I’m talking about.”

“I already said what I’m doing," Thomas told Crowder about what he'll do should he run into Ainge. "I’m going to keep it pushing like he kept pushing when he traded me, I’m not going to disrespect him. He’s a man and I’m a man, too. Like, I’m going to go my way. I play for the Cavaliers and that’s what it is.”