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Celtics notebook

Bradley travels with the team

But shoulder keeps guard’s status for Game 6 up in air

By Frank Dell’Apa and Jon Marks
Globe Staff | Globe Correspondent / May 23, 2012
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PHILADELPHIA - Celtics guard Avery Bradley traveled with the team in preparation for Game 6, but his status for Wednesday night’s contest has not been determined.

Bradley, who has been dealing with a left shoulder injury, missed the Celtics’ 101-85 win over the Sixers in Game 5 Monday night at TD Garden.

Ray Allen regained his starting spot in place of Bradley.

“He’s an extraordinary defensive player,’’ Allen said of Bradley, “but I just tried to stay in my lane and do what I’m capable of and be a part of the defensive unit.

“Any time you have a player down, you never take on that person’s role, you just try to go out and do your job.’’

Allen and the Celtics have not been able to present a consistent 3-point threat during this series. Allen is 6 for 22 from 3-point range and 10 for 16 on 2-pointers.

“They’re doing everything they can on me and Paul [Pierce] to keep us from having an impact,’’ Allen said after Game 5.

“We don’t worry about the offensive end. We create it with the defense. We’re not really worried about who is scoring, who is doing whatever - it’s just let’s win the game. We know our plays.

“Right now this is a Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett series. [Rajon] Rondo understands it, me and Paul understand it. We’re making whatever plays we need to make to get those guys shots.’’

Garnett is averaging 20.0 points and 10.6 rebounds against the Sixers, and Bass is averaging 14.8 points. Garnett leads the Celtics with 78 shots attempted, 11 more than Rondo.

“They’ve got to give us something,’’ Mickael Pietrus said. “They’re going to try to take our key players out of the game. But at the same time, we have so many weapons on the team that can make shots and can make plays for others.

“I think we’ve been a great team since the All-Star break. Everybody can make plays and that’s what we need.

“Sometimes it’s going to be your night, sometimes it’s not going to be your night. So you are thinking about the team, and you do everything to help the team win basketball games. That’s most important.’’

A pick-up game

In Game 5, the Celtics got off to a slow start, which has been a good omen in this series: The team leading at the end of the first quarter has lost every time.

“We knew from halftime that nobody was playing well,’’ Pietrus said after the game. “We need to stay together and maybe everything was going to be OK. So I think the second half, everybody’s energy kind of mixed together and got us a big lead and you could see on everybody’s face that they enjoy playing defense, because you know when offensively things don’t go well you can always count on everybody to play great defense.

“That’s the Celtics’ mentality. I think that’s why, if we went on to win a championship tomorrow, we’ve definitely got to think about defense first.’’

Pietrus on Bass’s 27-point Game 5 performance: “He brings that energy, that’s what we need from him. Sometimes it’s not going to go all your way, so make sure you do something else. Hopefully, everybody is going to come out really aggressive in Philly and try to get this win. It’s going to be very important for us.’’

Used to this

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said a two-day break helped the team recover from its Game 4 collapse.

“That’s no coincidence,’’ Rivers said. “Again, we don’t have the luxury to practice [Tuesday]. We couldn’t if we wanted to. So it’s just what we’ve gone through.

“The good thing for this group, honestly, we’ve done this all year. We’ve kind of been a makeshift group all year. And so it’s not a distraction.

“Our guys, they’re very professional about it. We’ll go to shootaround [Wednesday] and work on some stuff, and then go play a game.’’

‘Weather’ report

The Sixers say they have enough to worry about without letting anything Garnett has to say get into their heads. But criticizing the Philadelphia fans as “fair weather,’’ well . . .

“I don’t take that bait,’’ said amused coach Doug Collins. “We have great fans. They’re going to support the team.’’

His players said pretty much the same.

“We’ll see how our fans are tomorrow night,’’ said forward Elton Brand, who might be playing his last game as a Sixer, since he is the likeliest candidate to be amnestied next season to get his $18 million contract off the salary cap. “They’ve got our back.

“Maybe he needs something to pump himself up. But it wasn’t like he’s been around there all the time in Boston.’’

Count on Garnett to get a heavier dose of booing than usual when he steps on the Wells Fargo Court - and then feed off it.

The Rondo problem

How do you contain Rondo? Collins & Co. have spent the last week or so trying in vain to find an answer.

“We’d like to keep him out of the paint as much as possible,’’ said Collins, whose team has been victimized by Rondo’s 14.4 points and 14.6 assists per game.

“But he’s so good and has such a great feel for the game. He makes sure he’s got everybody in the right spots. And in the open court he’s a one-man fast break.

“I never saw that much of him before in a series like this. It’s going to have to be our growth area to stop him.’’

“We know he doesn’t want to shoot jumpers,’’ said point guard Jrue Holiday. “But the way he weaves through a crowd, he’s definitely the playmaker of that team. When he comes off screens, he takes two guys with him.

“We need to put more pressure on him.’’

Chance of a chant

Considering how fierce the Sixers-Celtics rivalry has been through the years, Collins wasn’t prepared to hear Boston fans chant, “Beat LA! Beat LA!,’’ in support of Philadelphia in 1982 when the Sixers were finishing off their 120-106 clincher in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals at the Garden.

“I guess they so hated the Lakers they were rooting for us,’’ recalled Collins. “I was doing the game on radio.

“Just thinking of Boston and Philadelphia, they’re great rivals. But when I think of Duke and Carolina, I can’t imagine one of them chanting for the other. They’d root for the Russian Army first.’’

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