The Boston Celtics returned from an eight-day All-Star layoff this weekend, and Avery Bradley certainly looks well-rested.
Bradley has been an offensive force in the first two games of the NBA’s unofficial second half, scoring 20 and 28 points after reaching the 20-point plateau just six times in his first 50 games this season.
The guard was at his best when it mattered most Sunday, pouring in eight points in the final 27 seconds of regulation, including a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer, to force overtime against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bradley missed all three shots he took in the extra session as the Lakers pulled away for a 118-111 win, but his production has been very encouraging for a Celtics team desperate for an uptick in backcourt scoring — and really any scoring now that former top scorer Jared Sullinger is lost for the season.
A few additional nuggets from Sunday’s loss:
— Jeremy Lin went full Linsanity on the Celtics, setting a new season-high with 25 points on 10-0f-15 shooting.
The Harvard product, who set the basketball world on fire once upon a time with the New York Knicks, is averaging a mere 10.4 points per game this season, but he looked simply unguardable at times against the C’s. Lin made life especially difficult for Celtics rookie Marcus Smart, who shot at least one glare in the guard’s direction.
“I thought Jeremy Lin killed us the whole night,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the game. “But I thought he was really effective in a lot of ways — not only scoring the ball, but also getting into the paint and making plays for others.”
— Jae Crowder scored 22 points for the Celtics, setting a new career high. He’d scored just 18 points over his last three games combined.
— Don’t tell Swaggy P & Co. the Lakers are 14-41 this season.
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L.A. had lost 16 of 17 entering Sunday.
— Gerald Wallace scored his first points since Jan. 25, and they came off this beautiful dish from Smart.
— Quite a few players have donned Celtics green since Brad Stevens took over the reins two summers ago.
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— Forward Luigi Datome didn’t see action in his first game since being acquired Thursday as part of the Tayshaun Prince trade, but he did speak with reporters for the first time as member of the Celtics.
“I didn’t see (the trade) was coming,” Datome said before the game, via MassLive.com, “but I’m happy because, you guys know, I played only three games in Detroit (this season). So, it’s a new opportunity. I’m very happy, I’m very proud to wear the jersey. And we’ll see what’s going to happen.”
Datome clearly is excited to be a Celtic. Here’s what his Facebook page has looked like since Friday:
— Most of the movie-star crowd spent their night down the street at the Academy Awards, but it wouldn’t be a Lakers game without a few celebrity sightings. One big name in attendance was boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., who gave Thomas some love from his courtside perch.
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— Sullinger will be sidelined for the remainder of the season as he recovers from a stress reaction in his foot, but the big man was with the team in spirit Sunday night. He tweeted the following after Bradley’s game-tying three.
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Thumbnail photo via Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports Images