The Boston Celtics are now locked into their first round matchup with the Atlanta Hawks. The faces are familiar for the most part with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, and hopefully Ray Allen locking horns with Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and their hopefully is Al Horford. However, the key to the series for the Boston Celtics is none of these figures. The key to the Celtics making it out of round one is the play of second year guard Avery Bradley. The way Bradley goes is the way Boston will go in this series.
I am not saying that Rajon Rondo does not need to play like a top ten NBA player or KG does not have to continue his spirited play because every piece has to perform their job. The fact is the stars will probably cancel each other out. Paul Pierce can match or exceed Joe Johnson’s scoring. KG can give Boston what Josh Smith brings to Atlanta. The Hawks have no real answer for Rajon Rondo, but the Celtics are not exactly set up to stop Al Horford in the paint. However, Bradley is the guy that can tip the scales in Boston’s favor.
Bradley can tilt the scales at both ends of the floor to give Boston a huge advantage. The defensive end is going to see him match up with Joe Johnson. If he can at least make him work for every basket and tire him out then Boston’s defense will be in great shape. Despite the size advantage for Johnson, Bradley is a smart defender that can get the positioning needed to make his life difficult.
The offensive end is where Bradley could truly shine. Johnson is considered a lazy defender at best. His quick cuts to the basket and high speed attack should be something Boston can get going for easy points. Bradley is also turning into a very capable jump shooter and that means Atlanta will have to defend him. If he is hitting his shot, that means less double teams inside for KG and thus more easy scores for the him.
The Boston Celtics are going to need a boost. Rajon Rondo is banged up. Ray Allen is banged up. Paul Pierce is going to need help carrying the scoring load. Kevin Garnett is going to need help at the defensive end. Avery Bradley can be the guy that gives Boston both. If he does, then Boston will live to see round two. Remember Go Green Or Go Home!!!!!!