Avery Bradley left Game 4 with the Celtics up 16 in the third. Over the next nine minutes, the Sixers scored 25 points.
That's an over-simplfication of Bradley's effect on the team. But it's pretty obvious that Avery Bradley has become a critical part of not only the Celtics defense, but the Celtics offense.
When Bradley is at his best, he's destroying the point of attack with his ridiculous on-ball defense. He creates chaos, which is where Rajon Rondo is at his best. Rondo thrives on chaos. He see it all in slow motion, swooping in defensively to make a play and then taking advantage of the transition chaos to pick and choose which teammate will get the easiest open shot.
But it all hinges on Avery Bradley. Without him, the rest gets more difficult. Without Bradley on the floor, life gets easier for Philadelphia, they get confidence, they get to the rim, and they get to play their game.
Chuck touched on this earlier, at some point, you have to wonder how often Bradley's shoulder can come out of its socket like that. You can't have it happen every game without causing long-term damage. And the Celtics understand that:
“A lot of young players would probably sit down, worry about their future, their career,” Paul Pierce said. “At the end of the day, Avery has to do what’s best for him and his family and possibly for the long run. Hopefully he doesn’t have any long-term injuries due to the fact that he’s playing. I think it’s a fine line there, too.”
Let's hope for the best for Avery. The Celtics need him, but he's got to consider his future too. I don't want to see a piece on him 20 years from now where he can't lift his left arm above his head because of this.