Celtics’ Avery Bradley likely done for rest of playoffs
If the Boston Celtics are going to win Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals series, or any game possibly after that, they will do so without starting shooting guard Avery Bradley.
Reports are that Bradley will definitely need left shoulder surgery, which could come soon and end his season. The Celtics host the Sixers Saturday in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Bradley need surgery should not come as a surprise. Bradley has endured three dislocations of his left shoulder since the start of the postseason, including two in this series. He sat out Games 5 and 6 and head coach Doc Rivers acknowledged Wednesday that he was uncertain when — or if — Bradley would play again.
A source told the Boston media that it’s “highly likely” Bradley’s left shoulder would pop out again and playing further would put him at risk of “serious structural damage.” Asked about his availability for a potential Game 7, Bradley said simply, “I’m just taking it day by day.”
Bradley doesn’t score much but is a terrific defensive player. And he was badly missed in Boston’s 82-75 loss on Wednesday. It was little coincidence that Sixers scored 42 points in the paint and dished out 22 assists without Bradley on the floor to harass Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner or Lou Williams at various intervals.
The Celtics defended well overall, but on several key possessions Sixers coach Doug Collins simply put the ball in the hands of Turner or whoever else Ray Allen (who started for Bradley) was guarding and had him attack the veteran guard, who was playing with bone spurs in his right ankle.
“It’s what we have. Clearly Avery is a great defender, but he’s not out there, so I can’t worry about it. I really can’t,” said Rivers. “Their penetration and their (isolations) without Avery on the floor hurt. They went to a lot of iso’s and they were picking who they wanted.”
The Celtics also lost out on bench support in Game 6. Mickael Pietrus was the only Celtic reserve to score, with five points. Overall the Celtics bench shot 2-for-10. Brandon Bass, the Game 5 star with 27 points, also fell to earth with an eight-point, 2-for-12 performance.