The NBA: The Avery Bradley Show

Avery Bradley is making heads turn as the Celtics barged into
the Top 4 in the East this past week.
*All images are from the Associated Press.

Perhaps it’s time to invite Ray Allen to the Avery Bradley show.

“…you're always giving up something. We can move Ray, but then he's not playing with Rondo and he doesn't get looks. I mean, I think it's simple until you actually do it." – Doc Rivers on having to deal with Ray Allen’s return and the rising play of young gun Avery Bradley.

It’s a pretty problem, in the nicest sense of the term, especially when the Celtics are 10-1 this season without Allen.

It’s “pretty” because Rivers gets to choose who’ll start between one of the best shooters to ever grace the hardwood and a guy who has shot better than 54% from the field, better than 94% from the line and averaged over 11 points in the last 2 weeks, helping the Celts to a 7-1 record since losing to Denver last March 17.

It’s still a problem, however, because now that the season is nearing its end, Rivers has to consider the following:
-       NOT playing Ray Allen as much as before might mean he’ll dust off the rust from his 7-game hiatus a little slower than ideal.
-       Then again, playing Ray, and allowing him to “heat up” as the playoffs approach, might stifle whatever rejuvenating boost in confidence and chemistry Bradley has injected in the starting unit.

The stakes are pretty high, too, since the Sixers are still hot on the Celts’ heels for the top spot in the Atlantic, which also entails an automatic home court edge in the first round.

How about Allen in the starting unit and Bradley being the primary offensive option on the bench?

Here’s the catch with that set-up: for both guys to be effective, they need Rajon Rondo.

Rondo finds Allen in his sweet spots. Rondo finds Avery free on the baseline cut or on the break.

Nobody else on the team, perhaps in the whole Atlantic Division, can find Allen and Avery better than Rondo can. So unless Rondo can commit to play 48 minutes for the rest of the season and the playoffs, this conundrum continues to exist.

“Because if you look at the numbers, the unit featuring Avery Bradley instead of Ray Allen has been much, much better. Like, coconuts better.

Lineup analysis is mostly based on the Offensive and Defensive Efficiency, or how many points the team scores or allows per 100 possessions when that lineup’s in the game. Here are those figures, first for the Rondo-Allen-Pierce-Bass-Garnett lineup, then the Rondo-Bradley-Pierce-Bass-Garnett lineup (via BasketballValue).

Ray’s lineup (269 minutes): 103.89 offensive efficiency, 101.78 defensive efficiency

Avery’s lineup (78 minutes): 114.57 offensive efficiency, 89.86 defensive efficiency

That gives Ray’s lineup a differential of 2.11, and Avery’s a screaming 24.70. Keep in mind that these figures DO NOT INCLUDE LAST NIGHT’S GAME, the most dominant game of the Bradley era, so Bradley’s differential is actually better than that. Plenty more after the jump.

Boston’s average efficiencies (including last night) are 98.6 on offense and 95.8 on defense. Notice that the offensive rating of Ray’s lineup is slightly higher than the average, as you’d hope. But if the offensive rating for that Bradley number, if we could extrapolate it to a full season, would make for easily one of the top three highest-scoring starting lineups in basketball. Miami’s starters put up a 109.93, which isn’t even close.”


So where to now, Doc? Go with the old-reliable-future-hall-of-famer who might shake things up the wrong way, or go with the kid who’s all too happy to play 32 minutes a game and who’s actually making even LeBron James notice?

After the JUMP, April 2, 2012 stat-stuffers:

MIL over WAS, 112-98
Ersan Ilyasova finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, and the Milwaukee Bucks took a much-needed step towards the playoffs with a win over the Washington Wizards. Brandon Jennings led a balanced Milwaukee offensive attack with 19 points, while Monta Ellis and Mike Dunleavy scored 17 apiece in the win, the Bucks' third and their last four tries. The victory moved them two games behind idle New York for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Jordan Crawford poured in a game-high 23 points and Kevin Seraphin netted 15 for the Wizards, but they lost their second straight and seventh in eight games.

HOU over CHI, 99-93
Goran Dragic scored 21 points and the Houston Rockets handed the Chicago Bulls their first consecutive losses of the season with a win at the United Center. Luis Scola added 18 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for the Rockets, who have alternated wins and losses over their last seven games. Courtney Lee and Chase Budinger both contributed 13 points for Houston while Marcus Camby had 12 points and 11 boards in the victory. Luol Deng scored a game-high 24 points for Chicago, which had not lost back-to-back games in the regular season since Feb. 5-7, 2011, a span of 86 games. Richard Hamilton returned from a 14-game absence because of a shoulder injury and had six points, three assists and five turnovers for the Bulls.

MEM over OKC, 94-88
O.J. Mayo led six Grizzlies in double- figures with 22 points and Memphis held off a late surge to best the Oklahoma City Thunder. Tony Allen netted 15 points, Marc Gasol poured in 13, Rudy Gay supplied 12 and Jeremy Pargo and Zach Randolph finished with 10 apiece for the Grizzlies, who won their second straight and fourth in their last five as they push toward the playoffs. Kevin Durant paced the Thunder with 21 points and Russell Westbrook had 19, but it was not enough for Oklahoma City to win its seventh straight game. James Harden and Serge Ibaka scored 14 and 12 points, respectively, in defeat. Oklahoma City missed an opportunity to move percentage points ahead of Chicago in the race for the top overall playoff seed. The Bulls lost to Houston earlier Monday.

LAC over DAL, 94-75
Randy Foye scored a game-high 28 points as the Los Angeles Clippers rolled over the Dallas Mavericks. Blake Griffin added 15 points and 16 rebounds for the Clippers, who had lost the previous 10 road contests against the Mavericks. The last time Los Angeles won in Dallas was on April 19, 2006. Caron Butler finished with 13 points and Chris Paul contributed eight with 10 assists in the victory, which extended Los Angeles' longest win streak since 2006 to six games. Dirk Nowitzki paced Dallas with 19 points while Jason Terry finished with 15 as the Mavs lost for the second time in three games.

UTA over POR, 102-97
Paul Millsap scored 31 points, including the go-ahead dunk late in the fourth quarter, to lift the Utah Jazz over the Portland Trail Blazers. Millsap added 11 rebounds while Gordon Hayward contributed 20 points and Al Jefferson finished with 13 points and 10 boards for the Jazz, who snapped a three-game slide to remain a game behind Houston for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Wesley Matthews scored a game-high 33 points for Portland, which fell to four games behind the Rockets for the eighth seed. LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and seven rebounds in a losing effort.

SAC over MIN, 116-108
Tyreke Evans came close to a triple-double as he had 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists to lift Sacramento over Minnesota. DeMarcus Cousins added 20 points and nine rebounds, Isaiah Thomas posted 17 points and Terrence Williams added 12 points and 12 boards for the Kings, who came into the game having dropped five of six. Kevin Love totaled 23 points and seven rebounds for the Timberwolves, who have dropped their past three. Nikola Pekovic added 17 points and Luke Ridnour donated 13 points and six assists in the loss.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
Wesley Matthews (POR) – 33
Paul Millsap (UTA) – 31
Randy Foye (LAC) – 28

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
Blake Griffin (LAC) – 16
Marreese Speights (MEM) & Carlos Boozer (CHI) – 13

Are Blake Griffin and the Clippers prepping themselves
to sky for a deep playoff run?

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Chris Paul (LAC) – 10
John Wall (WAS) – 9
Raymond Felton (POR) – 8

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
Goran Dragic (HOU) – 4
Kevin Martin (HOU), Chris Singleton (WAS), & Russell Westbrook (OKC) – 3

Can Goran Dragic continue to carry the load for the Rockets
as Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin remain on the IL?
Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
Serge Ibaka (OKC) – 6
Joakim Noah (CHI) – 4
Nicolas Batum (POR) & Luis Scola (HOU) – 3  

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
Randy Foye (LAC) – 8
Wesley Matthews (POR) – 5
Nicolas Batum (POR) – 4

April 2, 2012 First Five
C – Luis Scola (HOU) – 18pts, 12rebs, 6asts, 3blks, 2stls
F – Carlos Boozer (CHI) – 16pts, 13rebs, 7asts, 1stl
F – Paul Millsap (UTA) – 31pts, 11rebs
G – Wesley Matthews (POR) – 33pts, 5 treys, 3asts, 2stls, 1reb
G – Tyreke Evans (SAC) – 24pts, 10rebs, 7asts, 2stls

Honorable Mention:
Luol Deng (CHI) – 24pts, 7rebs, 2asts, 1blk
Jamal Crawford (POR) – 23pts, 6asts, 5rebs, 3 treys, 1stl
LaMarcus Aldridge (POR) – 27pts, 7rebs, 2blks, 1ast, 1stl

After suffering their first back-to-back defeats this season,
should Kyle Korver and Luol Deng finally force D-Rose to return?

Daily Zap:


*Game recaps were compiled and compressed from the Sports Network.
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