Rajon Rondo Suspension Will Open Door for Surprise Role Player to Shine in Game

Luis BatlleContributor IApril 30, 2012

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 10: Avery Bradley #0 of the Boston Celtics drives on Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat during a game  at American Airlines Arena on April 10, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

A blatant chest bump on referee Marc Davis with under two minutes remaining in Game 1 has cost Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo Game 2 of the series, yet it has also given light for another Celtic to shine.

As Rondo takes a seat in Game 2 in the best-of-seven series against the Atlanta Hawks, it will be backup guard Avery Bradley that Doc Rivers will likely give the start to at the point.

Although this would be just the second playoff start for the second-year pro, there is no doubt that Bradley has every bit of potential to come through for these Boston Celtics when they need it most in Game 2.

For one, Bradley has proven time and time again this season that he helps the Celtics put up wins when he is on the floor as a starter.

In the 28 games Bradley started this season for the team, the Celtics went 19-9, a winning percentage of 65.6 percent. Most may find it hard to believe, yet, without him in a starting role for the team, Boston has gone just 20-19 and won just 51.3 percent of its games.

Talk about some impressive numbers from the 21-year-old.

What makes Bradley such a significant part of the Celtics' winning formula is his ability to bring it to opposing guards defensively. As it is a guard's job to dictate the pace of a game, Bradley is able to get into the heads of opposing players and throw them off their game with his tenacious on-ball defending.


There are those who would argue that based on his Game 1 performance, fans can't expect much from Bradley in Game 2.

Yet those who doubt Bradley must think again.

In the Game 1 performance, Bradley posted just 10 points and shot 4-for-12 in 28 minutes of play and failed to post a single assist. In spite of the lackluster play from Bradley in this opening game, this has been something the guard has struggled to do all season.

In his 28 starts, Bradley averages an impressive 12.3 points and 1.1 steals while also shooting 50.4 percent from the field and 46.5 percent from three-point range. Those 39 games in which Bradley was not a starter, he posted just 3.9 points, 0.4 steals per game and shot 48.3 percent from the field and a mere 18.2 percent from distance.

It is clear that when Bradley gets the starter's minutes, he not only helps this team win games, but also dramatically improves from a production standpoint.

What's more? In one of Bradley's final starts of the season, he posted a career-high 28 points, shot 12-for-22 from the field and recorded four steals. The effort came on the road against, you guessed it, the Atlanta Hawks.

This is not to say Bradley is better than Rondo by any means, yet there is no doubt his impact is felt when he is in a starter's role with Paul Pierce and company. Not to mention there is no doubt Bradley has the Hawks' number, as he will be taking it to Hawks PG Jeff Teague throughout the hard-fought contest.

The loss of Rondo will be hard to overcome, yet, if there's one player who can help lead this team to victory, there is no doubt Rivers is confident Bradley can pull out a win for Beantown in Game 2.