Stars, studs and duds: Bradley 'exceptional' down stretch in fourth quarter

Stars, studs and duds: Bradley 'exceptional' down stretch in fourth quarter

There was no way to get around it.
For three quarters of Saturday’s game against Charlotte, Avery Bradley did not look good.
Not at all.
So down the stretch, what did head coach Brad Stevens do?
He called Bradley’s number … a lot.
And the veteran guard delivered in helping lead Boston to a 121-114 win behind a 24-10 run to close out the game.
Bradley finished with 15 points, 11 of which came in the decisive fourth quarter.
“Hey, we need Avery to make shots,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said after the win. “We need Avery to be great. Avery was exceptional in that stretch in the fourth quarter.”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the Saturday’s game against
Isaiah Thomas

Once again the best scorer in the East came up big when it mattered – the fourth quarter. Thomas finished with a game-high 32 points which included nine in the fourth quarter.
Nicolas Batum

The Celtics had major problems defending Batum who seemingly got anything he wanted offensively. He had a team-high 31 points for the Hornets on 11-for-23 shooting with eight rebounds and three assists.  

Marcus Smart

These are games in which the final stat line doesn’t do justice to the impact of Marcus Smart. His ability to get his hands on loose balls and force turnovers was a huge factor in Boston getting the victory. Despite missing six of his eight shots from the field, he had six assists and two blocked shots along with grabbing four rebounds.
Kemba Walker

It was a steady night offensively for Walker. The former UConn star had 23 points on 7-for-19 shooting in addition to tallying a game-high eight assists.
Jae Crowder

A key performer in helping Boston pull ahead by as many as 19 points, Crowder had 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting with nine rebounds and three assists.
Kelly Olynyk

A fill-in starter for Amir Johnson (sick), Olynyk had a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds with four assists before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Jeremy Lamb

Scoring is Lamb’s most attractive skill, and it was on full display Saturday night. He had 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting to go with five rebounds and two blocked shots.

Celtics defense

While they certainly have to feel good about how they locked down in the fourth quarter and got the win, tonight was yet another game in which they gave up entirely too many points. This is something they have to improve upon in these last two regular season games.

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Reserve-heavy Celtics keep at it, top Trail Blazers

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Reserve-heavy Celtics keep at it, top Trail Blazers

1:13 - The Celtics came away with a 105-100 win in Portland on Friday night. Find out why Chris Mannix is calling this the best Celtics win of the season.

6:05 - Mannix discusses details about Kyrie Irving’s ‘minimally invasive’ procedure on his knee and what his level of concern is with A. Sherrod Blakely and Gary Tanguay.

10:03 - Michael Holley and Tom Curran discuss what NFL players, including Devin McCourty, are doing beyond the gridiron by being active in criminal justice reform discussions held at Harvard this week.



Morris getting it done for Celtics on both ends of the floor

Morris getting it done for Celtics on both ends of the floor

When you think about Marcus Morris these days, big-time scoring immediately comes to mind. 

But in Boston’s 105-100 comeback win over Portland, Morris’ contributions went beyond the game-high 30 points he dropped on the Blazers.

MORE - Blakely's stars, studs, and duds from Celtics-Trail Blazers

“Coach (Brad Stevens) is doing a great job of getting me the ball in my spots and my teammates are finding me,” Morris told reporters after the win. “And I’m just coming through.”

He’s providing strong play and a tremendous presence at both ends of the floor which has been critical to the team navigating some choppy waters with a number of regular rotation players – namely Kyrie Irving – out with injuries.

“One thing is, he’s healthy,” said Boston’s Al Horford, referring to the sore knee that limited Morris earlier this season and at times forced him to miss games. “And the other is, he’s just more confident, he’s playing very assertive. He’s playing great right now, in a really good rhythm.”

Said Stevens: “That’s been him (Morris). As he’s continued to feel better; I think physically he’s felt as good as he’s felt. He’s comfortable in our system and we need him to score. If you’re a basketball player and your job is to score, that’s a pretty good job.”

And it’s one that even with all the injuries Boston has played through, few envisioned him being such an integral part of the offense. 

Morris’ calling card prior to arriving in Boston was his defense. 

But Morris has made it known that his focus on the floor is to be as complete a player as possible.

“I’m not trying to just limit myself to just being that scorer,” Morris said. “Also, on the defensive end I think I’m bringing it; my defense has gotten a lot better, especially my on-the-ball defense. I’m trying to be that all-around player and not just an offensive player … but I can score.”