Celtics

Shumpert Knicks' own version of Celtics' Bradley

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Shumpert Knicks' own version of Celtics' Bradley

BOSTON In preparing for the New York Knicks, Avery Bradley found himself watching what in many ways was a similar version of himself.

It was New York's Iman Shumpert who like Bradley, has established himself at a fairly young age as one of the better on-the-ball defenders in the NBA.

Bradley has known of Shumpert since they were in high school, and has always had a great amount of respect for Shumpert's defensive-minded approach to the game.

"You can tell he takes pride on the defensive end, just like I do," Bradley told CSNNE.com. "He's a good player."

While Shumpert's defense was solid as ever, it was 10 points - all coming in the first half - that played a pivotal role in helping the Knicks escape with an 89-86 win.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers is among the many who has been impressed with Shumpert's defensive skills that, in terms of impact, are similar to what the C's get from Bradley.

"He's a hell of a defender," Rivers said of Shumpert. "But they do it differently. He's so big; he's just bigger (than Bradley). But Avery is more the ball pressure all the way up the floor. That's the difference. But he's a great defender in his own right."

Having players like Bradley and Shumpert who are still young and so locked into being elite defenders, is a rarity in the NBA in terms of perimeter players.

"It's nice," Rivers said. "You would like one at each position, not all five but a small and a big that can guard. The small, you would love to guard 1s (point guards), 2s (shooting guards) and 3s (small forwards). You would love to have the one big you felt is a shut-down big and one guard that's a shut-down guard on your team. That's always nice."

And like Bradley (surgery on both shoulders), Shumpert has had to fight his way back on the floor after suffering a season-ending injury last season.

The torn left ACL and lateral meniscus injury that Shumpert suffered in April has limited him to just three games thus far for the New York Knicks.

Rivers understands all too well how difficult the journey can be for a player to get back on the floor after suffering such an injury.

When Rivers played for the Knicks, he too suffered a torn ACL injury.

"You find out a lot about yourself," said Rivers who came back in less than a year which was an unusually fast return to action back in the 1980s. "You grow up. It's not an injury you want. It's one of those injuries that requires you, if you're not a worker you will not come back from that injury. If you are, we've found that you can come back just as good and maybe even better, mentally tougher, stronger and just as athletic now. I think that's what you will see with Iman."

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

0:41 - Kyle Draper, Brain Scalabrine, Tommy Heinsohn, and Mike Gorman break down the Celtics loss to the Cavs and Gordon Hayward’s injury.

4:22 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions to the gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward and how it impacted the game.

9:39 - Dr. Chris Chihlas joins BST to give his medical opinion on Gordon Hayward and if he thinks there is a chance Hayward could return this season. 

13:40 - Chris Mannix and A. Sherrod Blakely discuss what the feeling was like in the arena when Hayward went down but how there is actually a 'cautious optimism' surrounding the injury.

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

CLEVELAND – Jayson Tatum has seen plenty of games featuring Cleveland’s LeBron James.

And in the Boston Celtics’ preparation for Tuesday night’s matchup, the 19-year-old rookie had seen plenty of James on film.

But facing him, up close and personal, was something entirely different.

“He’s way bigger than I thought,” Tatum said. “He’s way better than I imagined. That’s the reason why he is who he is.”

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James’ play was among the key factors in Cleveland handing Boston a 102-99 loss on Tuesday night.

But Tatum showed he too has some big-time potential by finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds which included some nifty drives to the basket as well as showing the ability to hold his own on the glass in terms of rebounding the basketball.

The last Celtics rookie to post a double-double on opening night?

That was Larry Bird back in 1980, helping the Celtics to a 114-106 win over the Houston Rockets.

What’s even crazier?

Bird had 14 points and 10 rebounds in that Rockets game, too.

Tatum’s solid performance didn’t seem in the making in the first half when Tatum had missed all five of his shot attempts while tallying just two points.

But as the Celtics mounted their comeback, Tatum’s play was a key to the team’s improved play.

“Just being more relaxed” was how Tatum described his improved play in the second half.

Tatum added, “first half, I think I was nervous and anxious. And then the game slowed down for me. That helped out a lot.”

And the Celtics will need even more from Tatum going forward after Gordon Hayward’s left ankle injury that will keep him sidelined indefinitely.

There was plenty of room for him to improve upon following Tuesday’s game.

But for the most part, head coach Brad Stevens liked what he saw from the rookie.

“Jayson was pretty good,” Stevens said. “He did a pretty good job for a first game. That’s pretty hard to do, to be thrown into this environment, first game and play that well.”

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