Bradley's New Routine: Tip, Tape, Torch
NEW YORK – Avery Bradley should get his ankle re-taped in the middle of every first quarter for the rest of time.
Seriously. Like forever. Even Brad Stevens wants it to happen.
“We're going to send him out and back to the locker room every game so that he hits shots like that,” Stevens half-jokingly suggested.
If you missed the second quarter of Friday’s game in Brooklyn, you missed the definition of hitting shots “like that.” Stevens was alluding to Bradley torching the nets – both the team and the twine.
The show didn’t begin until Bradley sent a brief scare into Celtics fans around the world. He limped off of the court shortly after canning a 3-pointer from the left wing less than two minutes after tip-off. He was favoring his right leg; the same leg that endured a sprained ankle and sidelined him for the majority of the last two months.
“I was like, ‘Gosh darn, the guy can’t catch a break,’” Stevens recalled thinking as Bradley limped off of the floor.
In hindsight, the guard did catch a break. The scare was just that. A scare. Nothing serious. Bradley returned to the court with a fresh tape job on that right ankle with about six minutes left on the clock. He finished the quarter without incident.
And then he went off.
Bradley opened up the second period with the most explosive run of his young and promising NBA career. The shooting guard scored Boston’s first 11 points of the period on 5-of-5 shooting to give him 13 consecutive points overall.
“The opportunities were there and I was able to knock down shots,” Bradley said of his hot streak. “My teammates were getting me the ball, (Rajon) Rondo was putting me in good positions to be able to make plays and, like I said, I was able to make shots.”
A lot of shots. Enough shots to make jaws drop in disbelief.
One of those jaws may have been that of Stevens, who watched the performance from the sideline. The coach is of the belief that Bradley’s first-quarter finale, a driving layup, was what led to his second-quarter fireworks.
“The thing I liked about it was he ended the first quarter with a rip-drive layup,” Stevens said. “He started the second quarter with a rip-drive layup. That kind of got his jump shot going when he saw the ball go through the net on layups.”
Those layups led to an unbelievable run in an incredibly condensed amount of time. You wouldn’t believe how long this spurt lasted if you didn’t watch it unfold in front of your own eyes.
Bradley scored Boston’s first 11 points of the second quarter over a span of just two minutes and 12 seconds. His sequence of scoring went like this: driving finger roll, pullup jumper, face-up jumper, driving layup, 3-pointer.
You’d have thought Bradley might cool down at that point, but the funny thing is, he was just getting started. Kelly Olynyk briefly interrupted Bradley’s scoring streak with a dunk but Bradley was not phased. All that meant was that he could start up another personal run.
The fourth-year shooting guard went on to nail Boston’s next three baskets to account for seven more points. All three shots were from the perimeter, including one 3-pointer. None of them did so much as graze the rim.
Tally it all up, and what do you have? Try this: 18 points on 8-of-8 shooting in a total span of just five minutes and 43 seconds. That, folks, is a flurry in a hurry.
Stevens concisely summed it up like this: “It was pretty unbelievable.”
Literally. Unbelievable. Eighteen points without a miss in less than half of a quarter? That is unheard of.
A routine of leaving every game shortly after tip-off to go get an ankle re-taped may also be unheard of, but who cares? It turned Bradley into a lethal scorer Friday night. Let’s call it tip, tape and torch, and let's roll with it from here on out.