Celtics shooting guard Avery Bradley missed Saturday night’s game against the Pelicans because of a mild Achilles’ strain.
Bradley suffered the injury during the Celtics’ 110-106 win Friday over the 76ers. He finished the game with 26 points and made 6 of 11 3-point attempts.
Bradley tested his leg by taking some shots Saturday afternoon, but the decision was made then to shut him down for the New Orleans game. Coach Brad Stevens said there is no indication that it will be a long-term injury.
“But we’ll be appropriately conservative with the Achilles’,” Stevens said. “Any muscular injury we want to be sure about.”
The Celtics are scheduled for a day off Sunday. They will practice Monday and then visit the division-leading Toronto Raptors on Tuesday.
Marcus Smart started in place of Bradley and scored a season-high 22 points in a 117-108 win over the Pelicans.
Forward Jordan Mickey was activated after being sidelined for several days with a stomach bug, though he didn’t get into the game. Tyler Zeller remained out with a severe sinus infection and swingman James Young was still out with an ankle injury.
Stevens said he expects Young to miss at least one more week.
“I’m guessing more than that,” Stevens said. “He had a pretty good sprain.”
After Celtics forward Al Horford drilled four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter of the Celtics’ win Friday, he was asked how he was able to add a new facet to his game so late in his career.
In 2013-14, for example, Horford made a total of four 3-pointers all season for the Hawks. He began taking 3-pointers at the urging of Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer last year. Horford said Friday he could not have evolved as a long-range shooter unless his coaches like Budenholzer and Stevens had faith in him to do so.
On Saturday, Stevens described his role, however minor, in helping Horford’s confidence.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever said no, probably is the way that I give confidence,” he said. “If he’s open. I’ve watched him shoot in practice all the time. We’ve worked on actions where he’s running and shooting 3s or he’s popping and shooting 3s, or things maybe that he hasn’t done much before. But as far as, like, ‘Hey, you’ve got to shoot a certain amount or we’re expecting you to shoot,’ no. It’s just, ‘Take the next right shot. And if it’s a 3, great.’ Because he’s certainly a good shooter.”
Against the Pelicans, Horford went 1 for 6 on 3-pointers, finishing with 8 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds.
There were plenty of empty seats at the start of Saturday’s game, most likely due to the snowstorm that blanketed the region. But the Celtics, of course, must find a way to get to TD Garden regardless of the road conditions, even though many of them are not from this area and are hardly experienced winter drivers.
A team spokesman said the Celtics do not have a system in place to help players get to the arena in inclement weather, but he said that in the past, when weather turns particularly messy during a game, the team has put up players in city hotels for the night.
“Nobody checked on me,” Stevens said, smiling. “I know that.”
Vote of confidence
Fan All-Star voting is picking up, with players set to join the fray next week. Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry, for one, vouched for a certain Celtic.
“Obviously, when you have Isaiah Thomas out there you have a chance against anybody,” he said of Boston’s point guard. “To me he’s very much playing All-Star basketball, and I think it’d be a shame if he doesn’t make the team with the way he’s played this year.”
Coaches select the All-Star reserves, but only for players in their own conference, so Gentry will not have a say in Thomas’s fate. Still, Thomas, who is averaging 27.7 points and 6.2 assists per game, is all but a lock to make the team this year.
Thomas proved Gentry correct Saturday, scoring 38 points on 13-for-24 shooting.