To say the Celtics have been bad defensively this year would be an understatement. Through three games (HUGE sample size) the Celtics are 24th in defensive efficiency. Take that stat with a grain of salt (the Miami Heat are 29th in defensive efficiency ahead of only the Detroit Pistons), but if you’ve been watching this season you know that the Celtics have been pretty painful to watch on that end of the floor (and the other end of the floor, all around really). While they’ll need to survive a while longer without him, one difference maker on the defensive end might be Avery Bradley, who spoke to the Boston Herald about his trademark full-court defense along with former victim Jason Terry:
“Some don’t say something, but I can just see how nervous they are because I’m picking them up full court, and that’s hard,” the Celtics guard said yesterday after watching another practice from the sideline. “I’m on them the whole game. That’s all I try to do. Nobody taught me that. I did it on my own.”
“If it wasn’t me, it was (Mavericks teammate) Jason Kidd, and (Bradley) would literally pick us up full court,” Terry said. “One time I asked him in the middle of the game, ‘Come on, young fella, you’ve got to back up a little bit,’ and he said, ‘Man, this is the only way I can stay on the court.’”
Bradley had figured out how to stay on the floor for coach Doc Rivers. He wasn’t going to change. And as he later discovered, Bradley had disrupted Dallas’ scheme.
“I didn’t know this because I was so into the game, but (Terry and Kidd) didn’t want to bring the ball up the court,” he said. “They had Dirk (Nowitzki) bringing the ball up the court.”
Bradley’s approach to defense brings something to the table the Celtics are sorely lacking right now on both ends of the floor: effort. When I think of Bradley, the first thing that comes to mind is last year’s 87-56 win against the Magic where Bradley’s full-court defense first began to really shine. Not only did Bradley harass Jameer Nelson to the point of tears and leave the Magic’s offense in total disarray (slight exaggeration), his defense proved infectious and inspired the whole team to step up their game. The Celtics could use that kind of inspiration when sloppy and lackadaisical pick-and-roll defense has plagued the team so far this season, but until Bradley returns it’ll have to come from somewhere else.
Check out the rest of the article, including Terry talking about how he’s known Avery since high school and comparing the young guard to Gary Payton.
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