WALTHAM, Mass. — As expected, Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens confirmed Friday that guard Avery Bradley would be available when the C’s begin postseason play Sunday.
Bradley left Tuesday’s 95-93 win over the Toronto Raptors with a bruised left quad and sat out Boston’s regular-season finale the following night.
“I kept trying to play through it,” Bradley said Friday before his team hit the practice court, “but right after halftime (Tuesday), I just couldn’t move anymore.”
Stevens said at the time, though, that he fully expected Bradley to be available for Game 1 of the Celtics’ opening-round playoff series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“I have not talked to Avery directly,” the coach said immediately after Tuesday’s win, “but everybody that I’ve talked to says he’s fine.”
Bradley started 77 of the Celtics’ 82 regular-season games, averaging 13.9 points and 3.1 rebounds.
Some additional notes from Friday’s practice happenings:
— Stevens rarely shows much emotion both on the court and in his dealings with the media, but guard Evan Turner said he can tell the even-keeled coach is excited for his NBA playoff debut.
“He doesn’t really show any type of emotion in general, so I wouldn’t know,” Turner said. “But I think he seems pretty excited. He’s pretty hype.”
— Forward Jared Sullinger continues to work his way back into game shape after missing six weeks with a fractured foot.
What exactly the young big man’s role in the playoffs will be remains to be seen, but Stevens was encouraged by Sullinger’s performance Wednesday night, when he played 28 minutes and finished with 11 points, four assists, four rebounds, three blocks and a team-best plus-16 rating in a win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
“He’s still readjusting to playing again,” Stevens said. “You can tell that. And I think the biggest thing, maybe one of the things we can get out of the next day and a half, two days of practice is just getting him into an offensive rhythm, because I think that’s still what he’s trying to find. I thought that playing 28 minutes was helpful against Milwaukee, and I thought at times, he really found it.”
Sullinger said Friday he continues to feel better by the day, but he’s not making any promises as to when he’ll be back to 100 percent.
“Only time will tell,” he said. “We’ll see on Sunday. We’ll see how that goes.”
— Stevens said he presently does not plan on shortening his rotation for the playoffs, as coaches often do.
“I think we’re going to continue to play our team, and we’ll see,” he said. “If we feel like after a couple of games that we have to shorten our rotation, so be it. But we’ll continue to go with who’s playing well. That’s the one thing that I feel very certain in saying. We’ll continue to go with who we think is playing the best.”
— What does Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge believe his players must do if they hope to have a chance against the Cavs?
Oh, only play the best series of their lives. No big deal.
“Listen, (Cleveland is) obviously a star-studded team,” Ainge said Friday in an interview with WEEI. “They have a lot of different options, and I think that in a series like this, they just have a much greater room for error than we do. We just have to play at our best. We need five, six guys playing the best basketball they’ve played. And our guys are capable of it. It’s going to be a tough, tough mountain to climb, but it’s fun. It’s a fun opportunity for us.”
— The Celtics are scheduled to hold one more practice Saturday in Waltham before flying out to Cleveland. Game 1 is set for 3 p.m. Sunday.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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