PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 18: Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics comforts teammate Avery Bradley #0 as he winces in pain during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Center on May 18, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Sixers won 92-83. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Avery Bradley is the only player not on the court for morning shootaround, but he's still considered a "game-time decision" for tonight.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 21, 2012
There are conflicting reports on whether Avery was at shootaround or not and how much he participated in the closed doors workout, but the bottom line is, nobody knows for sure how much he can contribute tonight. The kid's a gamer, so I'm betting he's a go. The question is: for how long?
A lot of what Avery does on the floor doesn't show up in the box score, but his importance is vital in a pivotal Game 5. He's a lock down defender against Philly's trio of young guards in Williams, Holiday, and Turner and a dynamic offensive player in transition and a reliable spot shooter on the perimeter. As Flannery notes:
They are 18 points better with Bradley on the court than when he's off - the second-best mark behind Kevin Garnett‘s absurd plus-56. When Bradley picked up his fourth foul early in the second half of Game 4, they were ahead by 18 points. When he returned, they were down by one.
I've said it all season, but what I love about Avery is how he seamlessly fits into everything the Celtics do. On offense, they don't run specific plays for him. You'll never see a set stall out with Avery coming off a series of screens; when Ray's in the game, the Celtics have found themselves deep in the shot clock when Ray's failed to pull the trigger on one or two down picks. On defense, he's pestered opposing point guards and forced the Sixers to start their dreadful offense with 5-7 seconds already whittled off the shot clock due to his ball hawking. Doc has repeatedly pointed out that the Celtics are a "low margin of error" team, but Avery buys us some leeway ever so slightly.
Jeff went into detail yesterday about the kid's toughness and frankly, I think the team feeds off that. Like Kendrick Perkins and Tony Allen, he's a product of Danny spotting high character guys in the draft, Doc getting the most out of him, and The Big Three imprinting what they've learned in their Hall of Fame careers on him. Avery Bradley is a Celtic.