Avery Bradley appeared to be in mid-season form in Saturday’s 119-107 win over the Knicks, and, really, a lot of that had to do with the amount of confidence he played with. As per usual, the Celtics 2-guard was feisty defensively, but it was his play on the offensive end that stood out the most.
In just 17 minutes Bradley poured in 15 points on 7/9 shooting from the field.
While impressive, it wasn’t so much the efficiency he scored with as it was the variety of shots he took in doing so—pull-ups off the dribble, hand-offs, curls around screens and even a three he took off the dribble behind an Al Horford screen early in the first quarter.
Obviously these are all shots we saw him make last year, but again, it was the lack of hesitation and wherewithal to understand when and where he should be taking his shots that made the difference.
As for Horford, the big man enjoyed a good night of his own, posting 12 points on 5/5 shooting to go along with three boards, three assists and two blocks in 16 total minutes. Horford’s versatility can’t be overstated. His ability to handle the ball at his size is such a luxury for this Celtics offense, and a second quarter pick-and-pop-turned-drive-and-kick to Isaiah Thomas for an open three was a prime example of that.
The second half belonged to the young guys as Brad Stevens opted to sit all of the starters with the exception of Amir Johnson, and R.J. Hunter took advantage of the opportunity to get some extra burn.
With the Knicks threatening to come back in the fourth quarter, Hunter went off for a Celtics game-high 17 points on 6/8 and 2/4 shooting from the floor and beyond the arc, respectively.
Given that Hunter is battling for the 15th and final roster spot with guys like James Young—who scored six points while going 2/3 from three—the performance couldn’t have come at a better time.
“I think I got some good looks,” Hunter said, via the Celtics’ Twitter account. “I was just focused on every shot.”
It seems like Hunter has the leg up on the rest of his teammates in terms of winning that final job and he improved his case in this one.
The Celtics are off tomorrow, but they’ll play Monday night at home against the Nets.
Make sure to check out our own Jared Weiss in CLNS’ post-game show which you can find below.