The Boston Celtics had a lot of improvement in game two of the first round playoff matchup with Atlanta. After struggling in game one shooting, Boston got an amazing game from Paul Pierce in game two lighting up Atlanta for 36 points. Kevin Garnett and the defense also stepped up to handle the Hawks offense holding them to a mere 80 points after they ran rough shot over Boston in game one. The Boston bench was also had a much better outing than game one. These glaring improvements did a great job hiding a needed lift that the Celtics got in game two. The lift was of course the fact that second year spark plug Avery Bradley finally looked settled into the playoff atmosphere.
Bradley did not have a particularly terrible game one, but he did not look like the guy that was a key contributor during Boston’s recent surge that saw them make many believe they are a true contender in the East. Bradley looked uncomfortable in his first taste of playoff basketball. Bradley looked like he was searching for his role on offense in game one as he passed up some great shots and did not look to drive to the basket with his speed. On defense, he was just a hair late on rotations and the Hawks got some great looks because of it.
Game two was a playoff coming out party for Bradley. He was very comfortable attacking the basket and using his speed. If he did not finish, he drew the foul and thus got to the line eight times as a reward for his aggressiveness. His mid range game was also at his disposal as he calmly buried his mid range jump shot. The result was Bradley chipped in a needed 14 points on only eight shot attempts.
The Boston Celtics needed Bradley to step up offensively. The team was missing Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen’s offense. Brandon Bass’s offense is also deeply affected by Rondo’s absence. It was crucial that someone besides Pierce and KG get some offense.
Bradley’s defense was also much better. He was more active and got under the Hawks skin with solid ball pressure. The Hawks guards worked for their points with Bradley guarding them His rotations were also solid and the result was the Hawks did not get some of the open the looks they received in game one.
The bottom line is Boston is going to need everyone to play a role to win an NBA title. Some guy’s roles are bigger than others. Bradley’s sarting role at two guard means that his role of giving the team athletic offense and great defense is larger than most. Last night showed that he was more than up for the challenge. Remember Go Green or go Home!!!!!!