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The 2012-13 season did not start the way the Boston Celtics wanted it to as they struggled all year. They came into 2013 with a record 14-16 to start the season, and were badly in need of a spark to turn things around. Well it arrived on January 2nd in the form of guard Avery Bradley.
Bradley, who has missed the entire regular season up to this point after surgery on both shoulders after getting knocked out in the playoff last May was finally cleared and ready to re-join the lineup. He showed some rust in his first game back against the Memphis Grizzlies, as the Celtics lost their fourth in a row to drop to 14-17. Bradley played 20 minutes and went 2 for 6 and 4 points. Not the debut he had hoped for.
Little did he know they would go on a winning streak and Bradley’s work ethic is leading the way back to respectability.
The Celtics won their fifth in a row Friday night (19-17) as they defeated the Houston Rockets 103-91 which was not as close as it seemed after the Celtics fought off a run by in the beginning of the fourth quarter. Bradley, who is still getting his legs under him on the offensive end as he is averaging 7.6 points a game in almost 23 minutes a game is making his presence felt on the defensive end.
The Celtics are averaging 96.2 points against all season, but since Bradley has been back they have only given up just over 84 points (84.2) in those games going 5-1. His pressure is also rubbing off others, as several members are seeing improvements in their defensive stats, like Kevin Garnett (double in blocks and an increase in steals), Jared Sullinger (rebounds almost doubled to over 10.2 rebounds/game), Courtney Lee (steals rose from 1.0 to 1.6) and Paul Pierce (rebounds up to 6.2 from 5.5) have seen increase during this winning streak.
The team started 13-17 last year, but went on finishing 39-27 (26-10). With Bradley back, could the Celtics do it again?
Look out NBA if they do, as this team of seasoned veterans can be very dangerous. Just ask the Heat how much they pushed them.