Celtics

Celtics' Bradley working on his game in Vegas

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Celtics' Bradley working on his game in Vegas

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn

LAS VEGAS If Avery Bradley wasn't here, he would be somewhere working on his body, working on his game.

You look at the names of players participating in the Impact Basketball Training Series this week, and there's not a single soul here without something to prove.

Bradley is no different.

A former first-round pick who has played sparingly after two seasons in the NBA, Bradley is optimistic this will be his breakout season.

Day 1 was a decent start for Bradley, who had 16 points. But it wasn't enough for the win, as Bradley's team lost 102-86, with the winning team being led by Detroit's Austin Daye, who had 30 points and 10 rebounds.

"It's hard to play, because we're all guards for the most part out here, but it was fun," he said. "We're all out here having fun, trying to get in shape; get in better shape. We're having fun."

The next couple of weeks are just building blocks, he says, in his preparation for the upcoming NBA season. And while the labor stalemate has put the start of the season in limbo, it has had little impact on Bradley or his plans for next season - whenever that season begins.

For the past couple of years, Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge have preached patience, telling him that his time to play will come eventually.

Bradley has gone along with the plan.

The NBA is big on potential -- that'll get you in. But if you want to stick around, sooner or later, you have to produce.

For Bradley, that time is now. And that time is spent in this sweat box known as Las Vegas, working diligently to chisel out his frame and his game.

"That's what I'm doing, little things like this," Bradley told CSNNE.com. "I can come out, try and get better all the time."

And he's doing it against a nice mix of young and not-so-young NBA players, including good friend Isaiah Thomas, who was the last player drafted in June's NBA draft.

On Monday, the 5-foot-9 Thomas led the Purple team to a 90-81 win with 28 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Thomas played with Bradley afterward, and had 26 points and 7 assists.

"We play pick-up basketball all the time," said Bradley who, like Thomas, is from the Seattle area. "We're just trying to get each other better."

For Bradley, part of that improvement centers around filling whatever role the Celtics need for him to play. Up to this point in his career, he has been a seldom-used, high energy guy. Bradley is out to show that there's more - a lot more - to his game.

From the day the C's used the No. 19 pick in the 2009 NBA draft to select Bradley, Rivers said he had the tools to defend at the NBA level immediately. But Bradley - who at one point was the No. 1 high school player in the country - also has the ability to score, something he showed flashes of on Monday.

"Once I learn to do that with the Celtics, I'll be fine," Bradley said. "I think everything will be easier for me."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics streak comes to an end

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics streak comes to an end

0:41 - Tom Giles, Kayce Smith, and DJ Bean discuss the Celtics 16-game winning streak being snapped by the Miami Heat.

6:05 - Tom Curran and Mike Giardi talk about Tom Brady missing practice due to an Achilles injury and Randy Moss’ chances to make the Hall of Fame.

11:15 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins BST to discuss the mental and physical fatigue that the streak had on the Celtics and if there is a sense of relief that the streak is over.  

16:11 - With it being the 5th anniversary of the Butt Fumble, we compare it to other embarrassing sports moments in history. 

Little things prove costly for Celtics as streak comes to an end

Little things prove costly for Celtics as streak comes to an end

When you reflect upon Boston’s 16-game winning streak which came to an end with Miami’s 104-98 win on Wednesday, there were moments in just about every game that played a major factor in their success.

So it was only fitting that in the Miami loss, it would be a whole lot of little things that ultimately brought the fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history to a screeching halt.

  • Al Horford missed a pair of free throws.
  • Marcus Smart split a pair that had he made both, would have tied the game up in the fourth quarter.
  • Jayson Tatum had his only turnover of the game, in the fourth.
  • Terry Rozier had a rebound that he could not corral and bounced off his hands out of bounds.

And that doesn’t even factor in the missed open shots and unforced turnovers that collectively played a major role in Boston’s winning streak being a thing of the past now.

“I turned it over, we missed some free throws . . . we had some unfortunate things happen,” Tatum told reporters following the loss.

MORE:

Even with the loss, the Celtics (16-3) still boast the best record in the NBA.

Kyrie Irving has elevated his all-around play to a level to where he’s legitimately in the conversation as a league MVP candidate.

Jayson Tatum has established himself as one of the league’s top rookies from his draft class.

“As you could see, they kept hitting us, hitting us, until we were knocked out,” Irving said. “They deserved that win tonight.”

Disappointed with the loss, but it was not at all surprising to head coach Brad Stevens who has been raising concerns about his team’s attention to detail for the past few games and sensed it would catch up to them sooner or later.

“I told you, we’re not as good as the 16-game win streak,” Stevens said. “But we do have a lot of resolve. I can’t say enough about our guy’s will to come back. It’s incredible we were able to erase that lead that quickly and give ourselves a chance.”

Indeed, the Celtics rallied from a double-digit deficit to come within a single point in the fourth quarter. But unlike previous games, Boston couldn’t find a path to victory.

“We’re just going to continue to learn and continue to get better,” Irving said. “It’s the same things echoed when we were winning. Just continue to get better and understand, there’s still a lot for us to accomplish going forward.

He added, “It was a good streak, and it’s finally come to an end.”

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