Avery Bradley
Avery Bradley doesn't seem to think a travel delay will impact the Celtics' on-court performance this weekend.
Peter Stringer/

Snow Has Celtics' Plans Up in the Air

VP, Digital Media

WALTHAM – NBA players are creatures of habit, but occasionally, things don’t go as planned during the season.

Friday afternoon, a few hours before the Celtics were set to play the Chicago Bulls at TD Garden, they learned that Saturday’s game in Philadelphia would be rescheduled for Sunday night thanks to winter storm Jonas.

With snowfall predictions of two feet or more, airports were shutting down and travel was grinding to a halt in New York and Philadelphia. The Celtics’ travel plans, unlike their team plane, were up in the air for the foreseeable future, but they didn’t fly out as planned after their 110-101 victory over the Bulls.

As of late Saturday afternoon, the Celtics didn’t have many answers. The plan was to fly at 9 AM on Sunday morning, with the caveat that if a weather “window” opened up, the team would have to be ready to fly on short notice.

So on a day the schedule originally said was a game day in Philadelphia, the Boston Celtics instead practiced and watched film inside the practice facility in Waltham. The team seemed generally underwhelmed by the change in plans. Their bags packed, the team is officially on standby.

“It changes a little bit, but that’s why we’re professionals. Anything that comes at us, we should be able to handle,” Avery Bradley said of the situation when he briefly spoke to the media before a team film session.

Following the film, Amir Johnson, Marcus Smart and Brad Stevens would all later echo Bradley’s sentiments, noting that while routine’s may be disrupted, they didn’t expect a minor change in plans to have a major impact on their performance. As the media chatted with players, Smart was getting shots up on one end of the court, while Tyler Zeller, Kelly Olynyk and David Lee were working on their inside game at the other end. Above the court in the corner, Stevens ran on the treadmill. It felt like just another day in Waltham.

“We’re pretty much on call for whenever the runways get clear and the busses can get on the roads,” Stevens said. “I guess Philly and Washington aren’t that nice the next few days.”

The Celtics are set to head to Washington, D.C. after they play the Sixers Sunday for a game against the Wizards on Monday, but with the Capitol expected to get nearly two feet of snow, the weather could potentially impact the team’s travel for Monday’s game as well. But for now, the focus was on playing the Sixers tomorrow night, and being as prepared for it as possible.

“We’ll do a meeting, and a walkthrough, but this is one of those deals when you’ve just gotta be ready to play when the bus pulls up,” Stevens said. “Your routine might be broken, you just have to be tough enough to play through it.”

As for playing through adversity, Amir Johnson returned to the team Saturday after being excused Friday to handle a personal situation. But more relevant to his play, Johnson’s still recovering from plantar fasciitis in his left foot since December. Johnson played just 13:37 in the Celtics’ overtime loss to Dallas on Monday, but played 24:12 in Toronto Wednesday night.

The foot’s been good. I’ve been taking care of it, these guys have been treating me well, and it’s been good,” Johnson said. “It gets sore at times, but once I get it warm, it gets fine. I’ve been keeping hot packs on it during timeouts.”

Another guy who isn't feeling great is Jae Crowder, who played Friday night despite being under the weather. He was given Saturday off but is expected to be with the team when they eventually head to Philadelphia.


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