Celtics guard Avery Bradley is keeping a diary for ESPNBoston.com. In this installment, he talks about what he and the team should work on in the new year and gives out his best travel tips as they head out to the West Coast. (--As told to Louise K. Cornetta)
Friday was another really close game. This one against New Orleans we came up just short. [Rajon] Rondo and I were talking that this might be the fifth game since last month that we had a nailbiter that we weren't able to finish, which is always frustrating. Friday was an unusual day all around. We flew in from our Chicago trip and landed around 1 p.m. with a 7:30 game at the Garden. I didn't get any rest, but that's no excuse. It was hard definitely, but it was all mental for us. We knew it was going to be a grind-it-out kind of game. We came in and played as hard as we could and had a chance to win.
It was freezing out there on the court just like I know it's cold outside. It was absolutely freezing before the game. I am not a big fan of the snow. I'm not a big shoveler.
Hope everyone had a good New Year's. Mine was pretty good. I stayed at home with my girlfriend and my family. We watched the ball drop. Did you make any resolutions? For me, it's to stop cussing. I'm not really big on that, but if there was any resolution I am going to make, it would be that.
When I look back on the first few months of this season, I'd say I'm most proud of our progress and being able to stick together. We're a very young team. We have a lot of people who could jump off the ship and think we have no chance, but nobody is doing that. Everyone is coming to the gym every single day and playing hard and wanting to be a better teammate for one another.
I was proud of how this team handled the trade rumors that were flying around a few weeks ago. Nobody really talked or worried about it. If it happens, then it happens. That's the other thing about this team that is amazing to me is we had all those rumors but nobody worried about it. We were just coming in every single day and working hard.
In 2014, I'd like to see us work on better habits. I feel that anyone here would say that because individually you want to work on the small things so you can help your team out any way you can. Defense is another area we've talked about working on. It's about getting back to the small things as far as like sticking your hand up to try and get deflections. All the small things like being able to talk to each other on the floor and stuff like that.
Rondo is getting closer to coming back from his knee injury. He will have a big effect on our lineup. Rondo is an amazing player. We all can't wait for him to get back. He's going to help us out a lot. It's great just having him around us. This locker room is filled with lots of guys who like to joke around with one another.
We're about to head out on a West Coast road trip where we'll play five games in seven nights. The hardest thing for us is mentally just going on the road and playing all those games, especially the back-to-back ones. I feel like we have a chance against any team in this league.
As I've mentioned before, I grew up in Seattle. So I grew up a Sonics fans. Yes, there is a little bit of animosity there for Oklahoma City since they were once the Sonics. I was just telling Gerald [Wallace] that I wished Seattle still had a team so I could go back. It would be nice to have all my friends and family be able to come out and watch me play. Oklahoma City will always be the Seattle Sonics to me. Growing up my favorite Sonics were Detlef Schrempf and Shawn Kemp. Shawn Kemp of course, right?!
I always like to end these diaries with a recommendation. This one will be about traveling since we're about to go on a weeklong trip. I don't know what kind of packer you are, but I am a very very neat packer. I pack the night before and everything is folded neatly. When I get to the hotel it depends whether I unpack right away or not. Sometimes I like to put my clothes that are already folded in a drawer, other times I might leave it in my bag. It really depends on what time of night we get in. Everyone has a must travel item. For me, it's cologne. I always travel with YSL. I always make sure I have that.
The best way to pass time on the plane is to sleep. I'm the type of guy who can fall asleep on the plane. It's easy for me. If you can't fall asleep, then I'd have to say my best travel tip is pray before you take off. That's the best tip I can give anybody because you never know what can happen.