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Avery Bradley injury could be pivotal moment in Celtics vs. Hawks series

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Associated Press

The Atlanta Hawks gave away a 19-point lead to the Boston Celtics Saturday night, but were rescued by the clutch play of Jeff Teague in the final 3 ½ minutes and held off the Celtics, 102-101, in Game 1 of a first round Eastern Conference playoff game at Philips Arena.

The Celtics defensive weapon, Avery Bradley, went down in the final minutes of the fourth quarter for what is being reports as a strained hamstring.

Celtics guard Marcus Smart sprained a finger on his left hand in the first half but was spectacular in aiding Boston’s rally from a 17-point halftime deficit.

Although he expressed a desire to return as early as Tuesday’s Game 2, Bradley said he’ll undergo further testing Sunday to determine the full extent of the injury. Stevens will likely have to play Isaiah Thomas, Smart and Turner more minutes, especially if he isn’t comfortable trusting Hunter or Rozier.

Bradley’s absence was apparent in the remaining 6:42. With the Celtics trailing by three with less than 40 seconds to go, a sequence ensued that ultimately led to a wide-open, uncontested look by veteran Evan Turner.

There is no denying the fact that the explanation for Game 1 of this first-round playoff series between teams that finished the regular season with identical 48-34 records depends on your perspective. “We don’t really know too much what it is yet”. We’re confident in each other and we’re always supporting one another because we came in together. Given Boston’s current roster construction, Bradley is one of the few players on the team who can make a three-pointer.

Boston Celtics’ Jared Sullinger, left, cheers as teammate Jonas Jerebko waves a towel from the bench in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Wednesday, April 13, 2016, in Boston. We talked about that a lot (Saturday) night. “I’ve just got to work around it”. Atlanta first must deal with the Celtics, while getting more production from former Jazz players Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap.

This definitely sounds like an injury that could sideline Bradley for a lengthy amount of time and possibly threaten his availability for the remainder of the playoffs.

Oklahoma City has said all season they want to be talked about in the same breath with Golden State and San Antonio.

But what does it exactly mean for the Celtics, who are down 1-0 in their first round series against the Atlanta Hawks?

All that said, he’s also a talented and versatile guard who is an integral part of everything Boston does on both sides of the court. So we’ll see. I think that he will be treated and everything else. My name is Katie Morrison and I will be providing live coverage as well as commentary and the results of Game 1.BACKCOURT CHALLENGE: Point guard Damian Lillard led the Blazers with a 25.1 average and backcourt mate C.J. McCollum was right behind at 20.8. Isaiah Thomas has been fantastic from deep for the Celtics, but Bradley has shot the ball slightly better from three (36.1 percent vs. 35.9 percent).

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