Celtics-Bulls matchups: Shooting guard - Bradley vs. Wade

Celtics-Bulls matchups: Shooting guard - Bradley vs. Wade

BOSTON – Avery Bradley has had a career filled with defensive gems against elite players. But few seem as iconic in the lexicon of Bradley awesomeness as the blocked shot he had against Dwyane Wade in 2012.

Since then, Bradley has steadily grown into one of the NBA’s best perimeter defenders, while Wade continued evolving into one of the best guards of this generation in helping lead the Miami Heat to multiple NBA titles during his time in South Beach.


Now with the Chicago Bulls, Wade once again finds himself being charged with guiding a team into the playoffs.
As for Bradley, he has also grown into a greater leadership role on and off the court.
But at the end of the day, Bradley’s defense against Wade will go far in determining the winner of the shooting guard matchup.
Here’s a look at the Game 1 matchup between Avery Bradley and Dwyane Wade.
This matchup pits two players who are important to their team’s success, but for different reasons.
Bradley finished the regular season as Boston’s No. 2 scorer at 16.3 points per game. In addition, he averaged 6.1 rebounds which was second on the team and like his scoring average, assists (2.2) and effective field-goal percentage (eFG%), set a new career-high. The growth of his game from an offensive standpoint makes him a player that Boston counts on to contribute, and opponents now find themselves making a more conscious effort to not allow him to get into a rhythm. His ability to stand out at both ends of the floor is what makes both him and the Celtics so good this season.
With Wade, Bradley has a cagey veteran who like himself, does a good at rebounding and playing defense. But Wade isn’t the all-over-the-court Wade we knew from past years. He doesn’t attack the rim nearly as much as he used to, which is a smart move considering the wear and tear his body has endured for more than a decade. He’s averaging 18.3 points per game, his lowest scoring average since he dropped 16.2 points per game as a rookie in the 2003-2004 season. Wade’s assists (3.8), field-goal attempts (15.9) and field-goal percentage (.434) were all at career-low levels this season which speaks to how his play doesn’t impact the game as positively as it has in past years.

Jayson Tatum comes up big vs Paul George, Thunder

Jayson Tatum comes up big vs Paul George, Thunder

BOSTON – Jayson Tatum had another strong performance for the Boston Celtics, doing so against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Paul George, a player Tatum has acknowledged on more than one occasion he has looked up to. 

That admiration didn’t get in the way of Tatum delivering a big-time performance in helping Boston rally from six points down with 12.7 seconds to play, to knock off the Thunder 100-99.

Tatum tallied a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds. And doing so at 20 years and 17 days old, Tatum became the youngest player in franchise history to tally at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in the same game.

“It feels good,” Tatum said when asked about his first 20-plus point, 10-plus rebound game in the NBA. “But honestly, I’m just glad we won. That was a big win against a great team and it was fun playing out there today.”

Impacting the game on multiple levels offensively along with being a defensive and rebounding force are qualities often associated with George who became familiar with Tatum prior to last June’s NBA draft which is when the Celtics selected him with the third overall pick. 

“I reached out to him before he was coming into this draft and I got to talk to him,” said George, who had 24 points and a game-high 13 rebounds against the Celtics. “It’s an honor when you see young talent. I‘ve been inspired by many in this league so it’s great to inspire the younger generation in this league.”

And while Tatum may be young, he continues to prove himself up for whatever challenges await him. 

“We are going to keep throwing to the wolves and keep going to him in those moments,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.

Boston closed out the game with an 8-1 spurt in the final 24.7 seconds, with Tatum either scoring or assisting on five of those points which includes assistant on Marcus Morris’ game-winner.

Tatum’s composure down the stretch comes from being influenced by many, including George who considers it “an honor” that Tatum holds him in high regard. 

“At the end of the day, us veteran guys want the younger guys to take the game further and advance much farther than what I was,” George said. “There’s going to be kids looking up to Jayson (Tatum) that are probably already looking up to Jayson (Tatum).”


NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kyrie Irving getting second opinion on injured knee

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kyrie Irving getting second opinion on injured knee

1:15 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins Gary Tanguay and Trenni Kusnierek to discuss Kyrie Irving getting a second opinion on his injured knee and what the Kyrie’s options are for the remainder of the season.

5:53 - Kyle Draper and Brian Scalabrine break down the Celtics stunning last second comeback win over the Thunder with multiple key players sitting out.

10:27 - Tom Curran and Jerod Mayo stop by Early Edition to play a game of Fill in the Blank that involves Gronkowski’s contract and the Patriots best offseason acquisition.