Boston really missed Avery Bradley’s defense in Game 6. Jrue Holiday was getting into the paint at will and breaking down the Celtics defense, Evan Turner made some big plays, and Bradley’s replacement in the starting lineup Ray Allen picked up six fouls.
Well the Celtics are going to have to figure out how to get by without Bradley for Game 7 against the 76ers Saturday. And beyond that if they win.
Bradley is likely done for the playoffs, something first reported by the Boston Globe and followed up by A. Sherrod Blakely at CSNNE.com.
Bradley indicated Wednesday morning that the shoulder injuries that have sidelined him the past two games – that includes Wednesday’s 82-75 Game Six loss to Philadelphia – are not showing significant improvement.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” Bradley said. “All I can do is keep trying to get stronger, keep improving for my team. That’s all I’m gonna do.”
No Bradley is going to make it harder for the Celtics to win Game 7, although coach Doc Rivers talked about Boston being a “no excuses” team. If they do win, on the other side is Dwyane Wade and the Heat or the Pacers with Danny Granger and Darren Collison. They will really miss Bradley then.
But first, the Celtics have to win Game 7 without Bradley.
This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.
The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.
With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.
Emphasis on “almost.”
The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.
The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.
After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.
The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.
Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.
The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.