BOSTON (CBS) — Leave it to Mike Gorman to deliver some potential good news when the Celtics and their fans need it most.
While the Celtics are in a big hole, down 2-0 to the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs, Gorman told Toucher & Rich that key member of their starting lineup could be back sooner than expected.
“The most encouraging thing I saw last night at the end of the game, Avery Bradley, without the aid of crutches, got off the bus and came walking up the aisle,” Gorman told T&R on Wednesday. “I said, ‘Wow, you’re moving pretty well,’ and he said he thinks he might be able to play before this series is over.”
It was thought that Bradley, who suffered a bad hamstring injury in Game 1, would miss the rest of the series.
“I asked if he would play again, and he said he was hoping he could play next week. He said, ‘If we can extend this series, I’m hoping I can play again,'” explained Gorman. “That would really help this team because he’s their best on-ball defender and their second-best scorer, in my mind. Maybe getting Bradley back, if they can extend this series into next week, could turn this series around.”
Bradley’s return would certainly give Boston a boost, but it sounds like the Celtics would have to extend the series in order for that to happen. The Celtics fell victim to another poor start on Tuesday night, and given the way they’ve shot the ball in Games 1 and 2 in Atlanta, they may not make it past Sunday’s Game 4.
“You have to make shots. That’s been the problem with this team all year-long. They’re not a good shooting team but were able to make up for it by playing such aggressive defense and getting easy looks in transition. When the other team was making shots and they had to set up their offense, they struggled to make shots,” said Gorman. “That’s the biggest problem with this team right now, not Isaiah [Thomas] or anything else. You have to make shots.
“Brad [Stevens] is going to be severely tested in the next two games. But you can’t hang this on Isaiah Thomas or on a game plan. You have to make shots, and they’re not making shots,” repeated Gorman. “I don’t think you can criticize [Brad]. Once the game starts it’s up to the players to make shots and play hard. They haven’t played hard in the opening minutes of games and certainly haven’t played to the level the Hawks have played to.”
Gorman also touched on Isaiah Thomas’ struggles from the floor, options for Stevens if he goes with a new starting five for Friday’s Game 3, Jared Sullinger’s poor play as of late: