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Ainge On Toucher & Rich: ‘We’ve Got To Become More Consistent Defensively’

BOSTON (CBS) — Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge joined Toucher & Rich on Thursday morning, and he was kind enough to provide injury updates on several players.

“Avery [Bradley] is day-to-day. He’s got a sore Achilles tendon,” Ainge said. “I’m not sure when — he’s not going to be out a long time, it doesn’t appear, but he could play as early as Friday or maybe next week. I’m not sure.

“Amir Johnson has some swelling in his ankle,” Ainge continued. “It’s sore. I don’t think it’s real serious but he could miss a few games. Jaylen Brown, I expect him back soon. He has a tweaked ankle. And … James [Young] is still probably a couple of weeks away with his ankle sprain. He had a very severe sprain in practice. And Tyler [Zeller’s] illness has been, he’s been in and out with a lot of doctors doing a lot of testing, and I think they’ve finally gotten to the bottom of it. It’s an inner-ear infection, but he’s probably a week away still. So that’s good news, because it was looking like it might be longer than that.”

Though the Celtics handled the Wizards to earn a win on Wednesday night, the loss in Toronto on Tuesday still left a lingering sour taste in many people’s mouths. Ainge was asked what the Celtics need to do to start beating the better teams in the NBA.

“Well, it’s a good question. I think that we had that [Toronto] game in control. It’s a game that we let get away from us. You know, listen, they have two really terrific players that caught fire. [DeMar] DeRozan went Isaiah on us. You can’t do it every night but we do need to start beating those good teams,” Ainge said. “We had a tough time getting defensive rebounds at the end of that game as well. [Jonas]  Valanciunas hurt us on the offensive boards; we had more of an offensive lineup because Amir had gotten hurt. And without Avery Bradley on defense, I think in these last two games it actually has shown how much we miss Avery Bradley, even though we got a win last night.”

With an added focus on taking 3-pointers, Ainge was asked about that philosophy.

“Brad [Stevens’] emphasis every day is defense,” Ainge said. “We’ve gone through stretches, we went through a 20-game stretch this year where we were one of the top three defenses in the NBA. And we’ve also gone through smaller segments that we’re late 20s defense in the NBA. So we’ve got to become more consistent defensively. I think that because we’re making shots and because our offense has improved, I think we’re not playing as consistently hard defensively.”

Still, just because some teams are putting up points, Ainge doesn’t believe that’s always an indication of a weak defensive effort.

“At the same time, there are a lot of good teams out there, a lot of good players, a lot of good shooters. Shooting seems to be getting better every year around the league,” Ainge said. “So, sometimes you can put forth the effort on defense and it doesn’t look as good, because guys are tough to stop.”

Rich Shertenlieb then asked a question out of curiosity: When a superstar like Floyd Mayweather or Mark Wahlberg sits courtside, do they pay for their own tickets?

“I don’t know. I’m not in that business. I’m not sure if Isaiah got those tickets for him … I’m not sure,” Ainge answered. “”My guess is that they would pay. But I don’t know. I don’t know for sure.”

Ainge was also asked about the antics of Bill Walton, how he would handle the Derrick Rose situation in New York, and more. Listen below:

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