The Celtics are dealing with injuries to Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and Jae Crowder. With Bradley ruled out, Olynyk’s availability in question and Crowder’s ankle not 100 percent, the Celtics must have other players step forward. The question is: Who will they be? Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Suddenly, the Celtics’ injury woes go well beyond Avery Bradley.

There are a number of uncertainties regarding the availabilities of the Celtics heading into Game 2 in Atlanta. 

Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk (41) and forward Amir Johnson (90) during the second half in game one of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. (John David Mercer-USA Today Sports)

Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk (41) and forward Amir Johnson (90) during the second half in game one of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. (John David Mercer-USA Today Sports)

Suddenly, the Celtics’ injury woes go well beyond Avery Bradley.

There are a number of uncertainties regarding the availabilities of the Celtics heading into Game 2 in Atlanta. 

Aside from Bradley, who has been ruled out by Brad Stevens for Tuesday night, the most troubling might be the status of their best 3-point shooter, Kelly Olynyk. The 7-footer re-aggravated the same (shooting) shoulder he injured on Feb. 10 against the Clippers. He missed 12 games after the All-Star break. 

Olynyk missed his second straight practice Monday and is questionable for Tuesday. 

“Got the impression he got aggravated the other day and he’s been dealing with it for a while, obviously, since the [initial] injury,” Stevens said. “So he’s going to sit out today and we’ll see about [Tuesday] night.”

If Olynyk can’t go, the Celtics would be without two of their top three perimeter shooters in Bradley and Olynyk. 

“We’ll see. Hopefully. Probably just rest it today, see how it goes,” Olynyk said. “Just sore, pain, discomfort. I’m just trying to get it back.”

Olynyk told reporters Monday at Philips Arena he doesn’t recall exactly when he injured the shoulder but believes it happened sometime during the Game 1 loss. 

“During the game you could definitely tell something wasn’t the same as it was for the start,” Olynyk said. “Hopefully just a little rest and recovery and get back out there.”

As for Bradley, Brad Stevens before Monday’s practice repeated his message from the day before, ruling out the defensive specialist for Tuesday night at Philips Arena. The coach also reiterated that it’s “most likely” that Bradley will miss the rest of the series with a “pretty significant” strain of his right hamstring. 

 

The bit of news from Stevens was the announcement that Bradley will undergo an MRI back in Boston on Wednesday after the team comes back to town.

Another starter’s availability might not be in question but his effectiveness suddenly is. 

Jae Crowder admitted to reporters Monday that his ankle is not 100 percent, as he still recovers from the high ankle sprain of the right foot suffered on March 11 against the Rockets. Crowder said on Friday before the team left for Atlanta that the ankle will not require surgery in the offseason. On Monday, he said while that’s still the case, the ankle is not where it was before the injury. 

“Seventy-five (percent) probably, 80 (percent),” Crowder told the assembled media at Philips Arena. “Somewhere in there. Not 100.”

Crowder returned on March 31 against the Trail Blazers after missing eight games. He played 35 minutes and recorded a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds). He took the next day off against Golden State but has played in all seven games since, including the Game 1 loss in Atlanta. In the final six regular season games, Crowder averaged 12.7 points and 4.2 rebounds, including 36.4-percent field goal shooting and 28.6-percent shooting from 3-point range. In Game 1 Saturday, he had another double-double, with 14 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. But he shot just 5-for-16 from the field. 

“Like I said before there’s still some stuff I’m capable of doing which I can’t do now,” Crowder said. “But it is what it is. I’m able to play with it and I’m able to fight through it, and I’ll be fine.”

There is some good news as Marcus Smart returned to practice Monday after missing Sunday. Smart bruised the knuckle on his left index finger. He didn’t recall when exactly it happened but was spotted icing it during the second quarter. 

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The news on Avery Bradley does not sound promising for a return in the first round series against the Hawks. 

Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters Sunday at the team’s practice at Georgia Tech that Bradley suffered a “pretty significant” strain of his right hamstring and is “very unlikely” to return at anytime during the rest of the series.

Avery Bradley

Avery Bradley

The news on Avery Bradley does not sound promising for a return in the first round series against the Hawks. 

Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters Sunday at the team’s practice at Georgia Tech that Bradley suffered a “pretty significant” strain of his right hamstring and is “very unlikely” to return at anytime during the rest of the series.

Bradley told Stevens during the game Saturday that he heard “a pop” but told reporters after the game that he would take every type of treatment and hold out hope of returning, if not Tuesday for Game 2 then sometime during the series. 

On Sunday, Stevens made it sound like that would likely take an act of God. 

“Certainly very unlikely Tuesday night (for Game 2),” Stevens told reporters before practice Sunday. “As of now I would say he’s out Tuesday night. Obviously he’ll continue to get treatment around the clock and go from there.”

Bradley injured his right hamstring after going up to block a shot from Hawks guard Jeff Teague with just over six minutes left in the fourth quarter Saturday night. He came down and began to race up court when he suddenly pulled up lame. 

“We’ve obviously had games without him before, and we have to have other guys step up,” Stevens continued. “I think the biggest challenge is that we’re playing small anyways. So you might have to go even deeper into that, which is OK.”

So now, Stevens has to make up his mind as to whether he’ll go small and start three guards, as he did when Jae Crowder missed several weeks with a high right ankle sprain. Stevens started Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas before turning to Evan Turner for more size and scoring. 

This case is different as Smart is clearly the second-best on-ball defender on the Celtics and is likely to draw either Jeff Teague or Kyle Korver. 

“We’ll have to decide whether we’ll go with some of those young guys and go deep into the (bench) and play four smalls again, or if we’re gonna play more traditional again and go back to playing that way,” Stevens said. “So we’ll look at it and we’ll figure that out over the next 48 hours.”

The injury news didn’t end with Bradley. Marcus Smart (bruised left knuckle) also missed practice Sunday as a precaution. He and Stevens expect him to play in Game 2. Kelly Olynyk re-aggravated his shoulder injury from February in Game 1. He also is expected to be available on Tuesday. 

 

 

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston joins Sam Packard to break down the Celtics 102-101 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. The guys discuss how Brad Stevens will react to Avery Bradley’s injury, the play of Marcus Smart, and the incredibly rare Brad Stevens Technical Foul. Subscribe to the Pod on iTunes, Stitcher and on the CLNS Radio app.

Hawks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (10) goes up for a shot against Marcus Smart (36) during the first half in game one of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. (John David Mercer/USA Today Sports)

Hawks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (10) goes up for a shot against Marcus Smart (36) during the first half in game one of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. (John David Mercer/USA Today Sports)

Long before coming out of Saturday’s game with a strained right hamstring, Avery Bradley watched as his Celtics teammates continued a troubling trend. 

They fell behind by 19 points in the first half and trailed by 17 at halftime, 51-34.

The stats were beyond ugly. They made just 12-of-51 shots for 23.1 percent. They were 2-for-16 from 3-point range. They had three players in foul trouble as Jared Sullinger, Amir Johnson and Marcus Smart all had two fouls. The Hawks by contrast were dong everything they wanted in the first six minutes of the game. Inside, outside and in between.

The Celtics were getting beaten to loose balls and Atlanta was ahead, 26-8, in the paint. The Celtics were outscored 30-19 in the first quarter Saturday. That’s an improvement from Wednesday when they trailed 35-13 and from the second quarter on Monday when they were throttled by Charlotte, 39-13, in the second quarter. 

“I feel like we dig a hole for ourselves,” Bradley said. “We have to get out of that pattern. I feel like if we’re able to do that, the series would be a lot different. The game would’ve been a lot different. I feel like we would’ve given ourselves a better chance throughout this entire game if we started out this game a little better.”

What did their coach think?

“We’re going to have to knock down some more shots, obviously,” Brad Stevens said. “I think at halftime we were even talking, we felt like we attacked them better in the first half than they we did last week when we scored 71 [in the first half]. We just missed a lot of open ones. We’re going to eventually have to knock those down because that’s part of what we’re going to have to get on all those rotations and extra passes. They’re pretty active at the rim against us.”

What Stevens insisted afterward was that the defense was actually respectable after the first six minutes. The stats would back that up. The Hawks were just 1-for-14 from 3-point range in the second half. They finished 5-for-27 from beyond the arc. 

“We struggled to guard them in the first six minutes,” Stevens said. “But after that, I thought we guarded pretty well the whole night. You can’t have that much pressure on yourself to get stops every single time down the floor. You’ve just got to shoot confidently and make some shots and I think we will. I felt that way at halftime and I felt that way in the second half. We started making them. We missed a couple late. I thought our defense was pretty good. I thought we were locked in all night but I thought that after the first six minutes, we were pretty good. They have good players.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

There will be no sympathy for the Celtics or Avery Bradley at this time of year. And the Celtics and Bradley know it.

Avery Bradley

Avery Bradley

There will be no sympathy for the Celtics or Avery Bradley at this time of year. And the Celtics and Bradley know it.

When Bradley went up to try and block a layup from Jeff Teague with 6:42 left in the fourth quarter, something didn’t feel right. As a matter of fact, after the 102-101 Game 1 loss to the Hawks at Philips Arena Saturday night, Bradley said it felt “weird.”

“I was trying to go up and block Teague and when I came down, I felt weird,” Bradley told reporters after. “I took a few steps and I just couldn’t walk. My main focus is just try to get treatment so I can get back as soon as possible.”

When he couldn’t put any weight on his right leg and had to be helped to the locker room, the prognosis for Game 2 did not look good. But that doesn’t mean Bradley is giving up hope, especially during the playoffs. 

“I don’t really want to talk about it that much,” Bradley said. “I just want to try to get treatment and take it day by day, and hopefully, I can be back for the next game. I’ll get treatment. If I could get treatment all night. My main focus is just trying to get back for next game.”

Bradley says he will get an MRI on Sunday and then make a determination from that. He tried to maintain a positive outlook after the game. 

“I’ll be fine, once I get some treatment,” Bradley said. “I know Ed and those guys, they’ll do a great job of trying to get me back as soon as possible. I’m not worried at all. I have faith. I know my teammates and people are praying for me, hoping I can get back as soon as possible.”

One of those undoubtedly praying Saturday is his coach Brad Stevens. 

“No update. I saw Avery,” Stevens said. “He’s very, very sore. He said on the court that he heard a pop. I don’t know if that’s something that he got hit or what. So, we’ll see. I think that he’ll be treated and everything else. We’ll see.

“How did that affect us? Obviously, one of better players. I thought a lot of guys did a lot of good things to get back in that game.”

 

 

Without Bradley, the mantle of best ball defender falls to Marcus Smart, who figures to see a lot more playing time starting Tuesday night, possibly even in the starting lineup.

“First off, nobody really wants to step into that role because somebody else got hurt,” Smart said. “We lost a brother. That hurts us. But we understand what we’re playing for. It’s time for other players to step up. If that means I’ve got to step up, with more responsibility, then that’s something I’m willing to take on. My teammates have been really good when I have responsibilities like that, that they trust me and the coaching staff. I’ve just got to go out there and do everything I can and how I know to do it, that’s just keep playing hard and everything will work itself out for me and this team.” 

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Hawks big man Al Horford dunks on Amir Johnson for two of his 24 points against the Celtics. (John David Mercer/USA Today Sports)