Heat Guard on Celtics: ‘They Made Me Who I Am’

Avery Bradley on Celtics: They Made Me

Getty Avery Bradley #11 of the Miami Heat blocks a shot by Donte DiVincenzo #0 of the Milwaukee Bucks.

The last time the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat shared a court together, it was the Celtics being dealt a 125-113 defeat at the hands of the Heat. The loss terminated Boston’s title hopes, sending the Celtics packing, while the Heat staked claim to the Eastern Conference Finals. Miami would advance on to face the eventual league champs, the Los Angeles Lakers, in the 2019-20 Finals.

Speaking of the Lakers, guard Avery Bradley was a member of last year’s championship roster. However, he was not on the court to help hand the Heat their 4-2 series loss in October. Instead, Bradley opted-out of the league restart amid the pandemic due to health concerns revolving around his son.

The veteran has since returned to the court, swapping out the Lakers purple and gold for some new Heat threads, inking a two-year deal with Miami in late November.

While Bradley continues to get accustomed to his new surroundings in the 305, a matchup with the Boston Celtics on Wednesday has triggered a trip down memory lane for the former Celtics first-rounder.

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Bradley on Boston: ‘That’s My Home’

“Being there for seven years, they’re still always going to mean something to me,” Bradley told reporters, via Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “Me being a competitive player, every single time I lace up against them, I want to go out there and play even at a higher level.”

“But I enjoy every single time I’m able to play against [them].” Bradley added, “I guess you can say they made me who I am as a player.”

As we touched on above, Bradley kicked off his NBA career with Boston, as the Celtics used the No. 19 overall pick in the 2010 draft to snag the defensive ace out of Texas. He went on to spend seven seasons in Massachusetts, earning All-Defensive selections in both 2013 (Second-Team) and 2016 (First-Team).

Bam Adebayo Praises Bradley, Expects Celtics to Hold a ‘Grudge’

Despite his ties to Boston, Bradley’s quickly becoming a fan favorite in the Miami locker room.

“He’s a Heat guy,” All-Star Bam Adebayo said of Bradley. “You know that by looking at Avery and his reputation. But talking to Avery, he’s such a down-to-earth dude. He stresses himself out sometimes trying to do the right thing all the time and every time he steps out on the court. I can be a teammate with a guy like that.”

“But he’s down to earth. He wants to win. He wants to figure out the best ways to put us in a position to win.” Adebayo said, before proceeding to harp on Bradley’s defensive skillset. “He wants to guard whoever he has to, to give us a chance to win. I feel like he can be first-team All-Defense.”

The Heat will welcome the Celtics into AmericanAirlines Arena on Wednesday, with tipoff at 7:30 p.m. ET, in which Adebayo expects Boston to come out swinging.

“I feel like they’re going to come out with the same intensity that the Bucks did just for the simple fact that we knocked them off in the Eastern Conference finals,” Adebayo said, per The Miami Herald. “They had to watch us play in the Finals, so of course they’re going to have a grudge. That’s human nature. But it’s our job to go out there and counteract that and bring our intensity.”

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