Every NBA fan knows top interior shot blockers like Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan, and Serge Ibaka — natural rim protectors with established reputations and clear roles for any team. It's a little harder to get a read on the league's best perimeter shot blockers, mostly because that skill isn't usually part of the job description. Yet Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade has always stood out for that ability, averaging one blocker or better per game in six of his nine seasons.
On Sunday, Celtics guard Avery Bradley gave Wade a taste of his medicine. With the Celtics up 40-35 late in the second quarter, Wade cut to the basket and took a pass from LeBron James for what seemed like an open lay-in. Bradley met him at the apex of his jump, though, swatting the shot away. The Heat ended up getting a three, but the play helped set the tone for Boston's domination of the second half.
One game won't set the course for the rest of the Celtics' season, but their 91-72 win helped show that they can be the aggressors despite their advanced age. On the other hand, youngsters like Bradley are going to have to be part of that push for them to succeed in the postseason. If he keeps making more plays like this one, they'll be able to depend on him more and more.