Boston Celtics: Avery Bradley returns as a member of the Pistons

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 01: Avery Bradley
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 01: Avery Bradley /

The Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons will play on Monday night as the top-2 teams in the NBA’s Eastern Conference with Avery Bradley making his TD Garden return.

Everyone knew the Boston Celtics would be a good team this season, but no one knew they could be this great without Gordon Hayward. The Celtics sit atop the NBA with an 18-3 record, while the Detroit Pistons are a surprising #2 in the East. These two will meet on Monday night in Boston, with Avery Bradley making his return to the TD Garden.

Boston dealt Bradley to Detroit in the deal for Marcus Morris and Aron Baynes this summer after he spent 7 seasons as a member of the Celtics.

In those 7 seasons, Bradley averaged 12.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game in green. His defense though is what set him apart. Bradley was the heart of Boston’s defense at a time when defense was hard to come by for this team. He always gave 100% effort and was all about the hustle stats. Bradley was everything it meant to be a member of the Boston Celtics. He should receive a huge standing ovation from the TD Garden crowd on Monday, and hopefully, the Celtics provide some kind of tribute.

Bradley would have been nice to keep on this Celtics team, but the numbers just didn’t add up for Boston. Bradley says he saw some writing on the wall, and that he doesn’t have any hard feelings towards the organization, Danny Ainge, or any former teammates.

"“I kind of knew it could happen. There were (conversations) that me and (Celtics GM) Danny Ainge had. But when it does happen, it kind of catches you off-guard a little bit. I think (Thomas) understands it’s a business, as well, but we’re two different people. All I can do is respect the way that he feels and I think he’ll do the same for me. I ended up in a great situation with a great organization, and I’m happy. I have no hard feelings at all.”"

Player to Watch: Al Horford

Kyrie Irving is going to be a special player to watch in a Celtics uniform for a long time, but it seems like Al Horford isn’t getting enough credit. He just finds so many different ways to make an impact in a game. This year, Horford is averaging 13.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game. While his scoring is down, Horford knows he can make an impact in each game on the glass and by getting the ball to his teammates.

In Boston’s win last Friday against the Magic, Horford totaled a career high with 10 assists. He scored just 5 points, but he didn’t need to score more. He knew his role in that game. The big man also recorded those 10 assists in just 26 minutes on the court. Orlando’s head coach Frank Vogel then had some big praise for Horford.

"More from Chowder and Champions3 Midseason Chaim Bloom Decisions That Have Killed the 2023 Red Sox10 Patriots Who Will Be Cut by Tuesday’s Roster DeadlineMLB Screws Red Sox Fans With Broadcast for Mookie Betts Return3 Most Underpaid Celtics Heading Into the 2023 SeasonRed Sox Continue Rollercoaster Season With Massive Win“Probably the most underrated guy in the league, in my opinion, for everything he does. He plays the 4, he plays the 5, holds the fort down blocking shots. They’re able to switch on defense and his communication on that end of the floor with his hands and obviously when you have the ability to have five 3-point (shooters) out there with what he can do. If you switch … he rolls it down to the post and gives space to Kyrie (Irving) and their wings. To me, he’s probably the most underrated guy in the league.”"

Horford followed that up with a 21-points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds performance against the Pacers on Saturday.

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Game Prediction: Celtics 103, Pistons 94

The Celtics should have no problems taking down the Detroit Pistons. While they’re second in the East, they aren’t as good as their record shows. Boston will try to control this one from start to finish, without the need for any 10+ point comeback in the second half. Brad Stevens knows his team can’t keep getting into a big hole, and you know their focus must be on that. Put the pedal to the metal and never ease up. Horford is going to be huge in this game, and a double-double could be in store for him tonight.