Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Keep in mind that it had only been a few hours prior to Bradley boarding a plane to Phoenix, when the 6-foot-2 guard was in the hospital getting fluids pumped into his body intravenously to re-hydrate him due to some type of stomach bug.
Not only did Bradley show up in time to play, but actually put the Celtics on the path of victory in the game’s early moments.
He was there, ready to play, ready to win and refused to use his less-than-usual stellar health as a reason to play poorly. And the Celtics (43-30) need him to be a difference-making, high impact player even more now with Jae Crowder (high ankle sprain) out for at least one more game.
The importance of this final stretch of games was not lost on Bradley, who acknowledged before Saturday’s game that it was indeed a factor in his decision to play.
“I wanted to be here,” he told reporters. “These games are important, every single game. Not saying our team couldn’t get it done without me, but I wanted to be part of it.”
True Celtics fans have found this team to be incredibly endearing — not just because it’s winning ahead of schedule, but because this is a team of grinders — the hardwood equivalent of the dirt dog Red Sox teams of the early 2000s. For a team full of guys that give up their bodies, do anything to play and just as much to win on a nightly basis, it’s not surprising to hear about Bradley flying out to Phoenix, dehydrated, to catch the first game of a crucial road trip.
I’m sure there was an added sense of urgency with Jae Crowder still shelved, but this was the lowly Phoenix Suns, not a game at Staples or Oracle. The Suns kept the game close, of course, but it would have been far more convenient for Bradley to rest up in Boston and meet the team on Sunday or Monday in Los Angeles. The dude is tough and just an absolute gamer. At this point, he’s an elder statesman on this young team and the longest-tenured Celtic; it will take more than a cross-country trip on IVs to keep Avery Bradley from playing at this time of year.
On page 2, Buddy in Boston?
It’s early, but hearing from execs from lottery-bound teams that Buddy Hield is a top-five pick. Fans of him becoming superfans this month.
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixYS) March 26, 2016
As the Nets continue to win games late in the season, there’s a better chance the Celtics’ pick ends up 4-6 than 1-3. It’s hard to say how the draft board will shake out, but given that another scorer has to be up there on Danny Ainge’s wish-list, how could Cs fans not get excited about the possibility of Buddy Hield in green?
Yes he’s a bit on the small side for a two-guard, but he’s having a tournament run matched only by one Steph Curry and has a scorer’s mentality that transcends size. If the Cs are picking fourth and Buddy’s sitting there, I think they’d be crazy not to take him.
And finally, Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers – the long-time team
Rivers can hear the forward’s frustrated voice as he enters the huddle, Pierce getting on his fellow veterans for loafing after a missed shot or a sour offensive possession.
“He knows when I’m not happy with a player, or a situation,” Rivers said. “There have been 20 times when I’ve come into the huddle and he’s already voicing the opinion I would voice, and that helps. Now, when I come in it’s the second time they’ve heard it. Hey, man, you have to get back on defense. That’s the one thing we have to do. I can hear him, and then I come in the huddle and repeat it, and now they’ve already heard it twice. It’s always better coming from a player.”
Tonight may very well be the last time Paul Pierce laces ’em up against his former team. Since leaving the green, The Truth has transitioned into basketball sage for whichever team he’s joined. Doc Rivers has had a court-side seat to Pierce’s maturation process and career evolution.
I’m not surprised that Pierce gives the Clippers Doc’s speech before Doc enters the huddle. Doc isn’t an Xs and Os guy, so I’m guessing you’d just have to yell a bunch of coaching platitudes and motivating phrases and you’d sound just like Doc (yes, that’s harsh, but it’s a rainy Monday morning and Doc left the Celtics).