Evaluating Avery Bradley’s Return Against Atlanta

How did Bradley do in his first game since Jan. 16?

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The Boston Celtics did not make any acquisitions at last week’s trade deadline, but one player made his long awaited return. Shooting guard Avery Bradley previously missed 22 out of the last 23 games with an achilles injury. On Monday, he reclaimed his spot in the starting lineup, which was most recently occupied by rookie Jaylen Brown.

A two month absence tested Bradley’s patience — he almost sat out Monday’s game if it weren’t for a compromise with the medical team — but he was finally given the green light.

“I wanted to come back like four weeks ago but I had to do what’s smartest” Bradley told reporters prior to Monday’s game. “It was tough listening to them [Boston’s medical staff] but we came to a compromise, I guess you could say, and I can play tonight, so I’m happy with the decision.”

Although Boston was successful (15–7) without Bradley, the team needs last year’s first-team All-NBA defender as they prepare for a postseason run.

The results were promising in Bradley’s first game since January 16th. In 15 minutes, he finished with six points while shooting 2–for–4 from the field (2–for–3 from three).

Bradley hardly looked rusty , which is incredible considering his extended time on the sidelines. He was active on defense and irritated opposing with his pesky presence, coming away with three steals. It was a helpful reminder of just how important a two-way player like Bradley is.

In an uninspiring 114–98 loss to the Hawks at the TD Garden, it was a treat to see AB return to action. Boston has lost three out of its last four games, but thankfully Bradley’s back and he couldn’t have returned at a better time. The Celtics host the Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.