While Bradley's Down, Dooling Uplifts
PHILADELPHIA – Barring a last-minute change, Avery Bradley will miss his second consecutive playoff game tonight when the Celtics look to close out the Sixers in Philadelphia in Game 6 at Wells Fargo Center.
Doc Rivers told reporters that Bradley (left shoulder, and apparently now his right shoulder as well) wouldn’t participate in shootaround when the Celtics met the media in the morning at the arena. He seemed to be holding out some hope that Bradley might be able to play, but Bradley himself was resigned to the idea that he wasn’t going to play in Game 6 now that both shoulders have become an issue.
“I’m just trying to get them stronger, but as of today I’m not going to be playing tonight,” a disappointed Bradley said, almost mumbling and hanging his head as he talked to reporters. “I’m definitely frustrated but all I can do is try to get stronger and keep trying to improve for my team.”
Bradley doesn’t lack any motivation, but in the event that he did, perhaps Keyon Dooling could make him feel better. Brandon Bass referred to the reserve guard as the “Reverand Dooling” after Sunday’s Game 5 win, noting that his passionate halftime address inspired the team. Bass said Dooling told the Celtics to “play for each other.”
Dooling is a player Doc Rivers has long wanted to have on his roster in Boston. When he joined the Celtics this offseason, he knew he was joining a veteran locker room, but he was more than willing to embrace the role of being a leader.
“It’s not necessarily something I was looking to do, but we all have roles on this team, and sometimes things can’t go without being said,” Dooling said Wednesday. “We've got to challenge each other, we’ve got to push each other. And sometimes we’ve got to chastise each other in order to bring the best out of each other.”
Dooling won’t shy away from the fact that he’s willing to open his mouth when he thinks his teammates need some perspective or veteran leadership. But he is also careful to keep his messages in the locker room.
“It was just a timely conversation that I had,” Dooling said. When reporters asked for a replay of his halftime sermon, Dooling replied, “You’ll have to get that from somebody else.”
Just as Dooling wrapped up, the congregation was headed to the court for shootaround. We’ll have to ask them to testify another time.