They were the only team to push the Miami Heat to the brink of elimination in the 2011-12 postseason, taking them to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Losing Ray Allen was offset by signing Courtney Lee and Jason Terry, but the Celtics team that takes the floor for the regular-season opener on Oct. 30 in Miami will be missing Avery Bradley.
According to ESPN's Jackie MacMullan, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that Bradley might not be back until January after undergoing offseason shoulder surgeries.
Bradley came into his own as an NBA player in 2011-12. He took the starting job from incumbent Ray Allen, and he was a force on defense.
When the Celtics tip off against the Heat, Ray Allen will be on the court, but he'll be wearing a Heat jersey. Who's going to fill in for Avery Bradley?
The Celtics don't have anyone on the current roster who can individually replace Avery Bradley's defense, but Jason Terry, who was once one of the league's better defenders, can chip in. Courtney Lee, who, according to scouting reports, is a very good perimeter defender, can also play big minutes.
Terry is a better shooter—he's actually an upgrade from Bradley in that department—and Lee is a better perimeter defender.
Look for Terry to play more against the smaller shooting guards, or against guys who rely a bit more on their athleticism. You'd want Terry matching up against someone like the Knicks' J.R. Smith, but you'd prefer to have Lee guarding someone like the Nets' Joe Johnson.
Terry's three-point shooting means that in games where the Celtics need to score more points, he's likely to see some added minutes, regardless of the defensive matchup on the other end of the court.
At 6'5'' and being only 26 years old, on most nights, Lee should be a more stable option than the 6'2'', 35-year-old Terry.
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