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The Read & React: Bradley, Brown, and unselfishness vs. selfishness

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The CelticsBlog staff dishes on last night’s loss in Chicago.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The morning after, the CelticsBlog staff will give you their takes on last night’s game in our new feature, The Read & React. There was a lot to digest after the Celtics’ 105-99 loss to the Bulls in Chicago, so let’s dive right in:

Get well, MarcusSean Penney

Perimeter defense has been a concern through the first two games, as the Celtics are allowing far too many three-pointers. A Chicago team that most expected would have spacing issues shot 11 for 25 (44%) from beyond the arc tonight. However, I don't see this as a long-term concern. Getting Smart back from injury will help, and giving up outside shots may have been partially be design. Wade and Butler aren't going to drill four three-pointers apiece very often. Boston dared the Bulls to shoot and they made us pay, but that doesn't necessarily mean it was a bad strategy against a team that typically struggles from outside. - Sean Penney

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Force is strong in this oneAlex Kungu

The force that is Jaylen Brown could be a promising storyline. It’s easy to let his costly blunder at the end of the game ruin your impression of him, but don’t, because overall he put together a very strong performance. He attacked the paint relentlessly, showing of some advanced finishes, and he held his own defensively. I’ve alluded to how Brown’s versatility may lead into him taking minutes from Jonas Jerebko. Tonight, Brown doubled Jerebko’s playing time (20 minutes for Brown vs. 10 for Jerebko) and looked a lot more effective on both ends of the court, even without the ability to shoot. - Alex Kungu

Avery Bradley, you can be my wing manBill Sy

What a difference a summer makes. Under three seasons with Doc Rivers, AB was a defensive specialist. Three seasons with Brad Stevens unlocked his mid-range game. And now, after a summer spent working on his handle, he’s become a driver and a playmaker.

Most of Bradley’s prior offense came on pin-down screens where he would curl up and get the ball around the free-throw line. Now, he’s catching the ball on the wing and driving downhill towards the rim.

We’ve gone over this ad nauseum in the preseason. Let’s go one step further. This added dimension to Bradley’s game is nice basketball-wise, but I think these new skills will feed Bradley’s aggression and confidence. That’s going to make him not only better on offense but also an improved defender. At Media Day, Bradley stepped up to the mic, openly campaigned to be DPotY, and name-checked Kawhi Leonard and Draymond Green. This is no longer the mild-mannered, offensively limited Avery Bradley. This is an All-Defensive first team player that could also win Most Improved.

Could Al be more selfish?Bobby Manning

I went into the season preparing for outsiders to criticize Horford's lack of point production and said I wouldn't fall for it. But part of me wants to see him shoot just a little more. Maybe 4-5 more shots per night. He passed on some looks tonight, and Boston needs him to pick them up in the half court when the fast break isn't available to them like tonight. Horford is affecting so many areas of the game that I can understand why there isn't a distinct emphasis on him scoring. However, when the Cs fell behind by double digits, Horford’s teammates tossed the ball to him inside, and he found points with ease. He has the ability to put up 20 on any given night; it’s all about putting up the shots. - Bobby Manning

NBA: Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Or maybe unselfishness is workingKeith Smith

Looking for a positive from tonight's otherwise disappointing performance? The Celtics had 22 assists on 38 baskets. This is after 36 assists on 48 buckets on opening night. That kind of sharing of the ball bodes well for future success. The Celtics will regularly play five players who are good ball handlers and passers. It isn't always just the direct assist getting it done either. Boston has already shown that they will excel at the "hockey assist", where the first pass leads to the second pass, which leads to the basket.

Al Horford was regarded as a good ball-mover in his Atlanta days, and so far this season he has 11 assists in two games and several more "hockey assists". Moving the ball so well keeps everyone engaged in the game. It makes guys cut harder to the basket, come tighter off screens, and be constantly ready for the ball to come their way. Sure, the Celtics defense struggled some tonight. And they couldn't push pace the way they want to with such poor rebounding. But the offense is already clicking at a high level, and most of that has to do with excellent passing and sharing of the ball. - Keith Smith

It’s Tyler Zeller’s world, and we’re just living in it — Jared Weiss

Enjoy this while you can. Tyler Zeller hardly played last season. He got $8 million, and we figured he’d be the richest seat-filler in the NBA. But with Kelly Olynyk’s rehab drawing out and a pair of advantageous matchups, the Tyler Zeller show has gotten a surprise early order form the network.

We’ve seen the pilot before and we know what to expect. In this game of evolving centers, Tyler Zeller has gone from King of Queens to Kevin Can Wait. He may not have the substance and versatility of 30 Rock, but he always can nail that pick-and-roll. He is the Kevin James to Al Horford’s Woody Allen. For every time he catches a rifled pass and flips a reverse off the glass, he gets flipped around on a bad interior rotation on defense. We know to expect a few nice plays with the ball each game and maybe an 18-footer or two. But when he gets that rare block, or switches on to a guard and funnels him to help, we get a taste of the good life.

Zeller went 3 for 9 Thursday, and for every solid defensive play he made, he missed a pair of assignments. Zeller is the kind of backup center that gets you on a roll. But sustaining that momentum becomes difficult when the opponent thrives off of second-chance points and easy looks in the paint.

I already had to say RIP to Vine. But thankfully, it will be awhile before we see the last of Zeller. No matter what happens this season with Tyler Doller $ign, there will always be a pick somewhere. And we’ll see him on the roll.

Tyler Can Wait.