Celtics overcome letdown to beat Bobcats

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Celtics overcome letdown to beat Bobcats

BOSTON -- Paul Pierce knew it could happen. He had seen it play out during his career: Younger, struggling team comes into town to face veteran team on a roll; veteran team builds a lead, gets comfortable, and younger team fights back.

Who prevails?

On Monday the Boston Celtics led the Charlotte Bobcats by as many as 18 points in the second quarter. Rather than dominating the second half, the Celtics watched the Bobcats erase the deficit and tie the game with 8:20 to go in the third.

"These are the types of team that if they get any confidence, they can really get it going," Pierce said. "Record really doesn't matter, that's with any team in the league, especially when they're playing against the Boston Celtics. I remember when I was on a lot of losing teams and we came in and got our confidence rolling, we felt like we could win these games. So we have to go out there and try to get off to a strong start and not take them lightly."

Pierce remembers games against Anfernee Hardaway and Grant Hill that fell under that category.

This time around, the veteran team broke the tie, went on a 7-0 run, and outscored the younger squad, 24-19, in the final quarter to earn their sixth straight victory, 100-89.

"We've come back from 18-point leads," said Rajon Rondo. "You're never safe in this league. You can have a double-digit lead, but it's a matter of time before guys make shots. They were struggling in the first half and hitting shots in the second, hitting some tough shots. They banged a couple in, got rhythm-three's, and got to the free throw line."

With the win, the Celtics improved to 20-17. The Bobcats dropped to 9-28. Their fight didn't go unnoticed, though.

"I thought we did (let up) at times tonight," said head coach Doc Rivers. "One of the things -- and every coach I talk to about them says the same thing -- they just keep playing. That's hard to do, but it's really nice to see. Those guys, they started off so well and then went on this struggle, and yet they come out and put the effort out every night. They're giving you their best."

The Bobcats will continue to fight their way through the season -- "Can't lay down, nobody is going to feel sorry for you," said Ben Gordon -- while the Celtics will look to fight off any targets on their backs and go after those on other teams.

"The other teams are NBA teams and they're going to keep fighting and making shots," said Rivers. "And when they do, it's nice that we can catch it instead of losing those leads and losing the game."

Olynyk hasn’t decided if he’ll have shoulder surgery

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Olynyk hasn’t decided if he’ll have shoulder surgery

WALTHAM, Mass. – Kelly Olynyk will consult with additional doctors before deciding whether to have offseason surgery on his right shoulder.
 
The injury kept him out for 12 games in the regular season and he re-aggravated it in Boston’s first-round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks.
 
“I felt like it was improving,” Olynyk said following his exit interview on Friday. “I had games where it would feel good, games it wouldn’t. It would get hit every game and kind of pinch, set you back. It was tough. It never felt 100 percent the whole time; it never felt 80. It’s tough going down that stretch of games. You want to be at your best when your best is needed.”
 
In the regular season, Olynyk averaged 10 points per game along with 4.1 rebounds while shooting 40.5 percent on 3s.
 
But in the six game series against the Hawks (he missed two games with the shoulder injury), the 7-foot center only scored just two points on 1-for-9 shooting.
 
As for surgery, Olynyk – like most of us – would much rather not have surgery if possible.
 
“It’s always an option when you have an injury of certain degrees,” Olynyk said. “If you can make sure it’s healthy without it, then it’s healthy without it.”
 
Depending on whether he has surgery will potentially impact his availability for the start of next season.
 
Regardless, Olynyk will do what he always does in the offseason — focus on ways to get better.
 
As he addressed the media, he had papers in his hand that included his stats from this season as well as other information pertinent to his offseason.
 
“Stuff to improve” was how Olynyk described the papers.
 
And as he began to elaborate, he grinned, “stuff mostly to improve.”
 
Like a cleaner bill of health, something that would bode well for both Olynyk and the Celtics.
 

Sullinger: It would be very hard to walk away from Celtics

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Sullinger: It would be very hard to walk away from Celtics

BOSTON - It’s easy to look at the Celtics - Hawks series and say that Jared Sullinger has no place on the Boston Celtics.

But that would mean ignoring an entire regular season in which Sullinger put together perhaps the best season of his career.

The C’s center averaged 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds, and believe it or not was one of the more consistent and dependable players on the team, especially when it came to big men.

Having thought to be out of the rotation completely to begin the year, Sullinger ended up starting 73 of the 81 games he played, both career highs.

There were some weight issues, and that just might be the case for Sullinger for the rest of his career as he’s just a guy with a big frame. It may have caught up to him a bit towards the end of the season and into the playoffs, but more than anything else the Hawks just proved to be a bad matchup for him.

If Boston could have advanced to play the Cavs, history proves that Sullinger would have been an integral part in taking Kevin Love out of the game.

But it didn’t end that way for the Celtics, who were eliminated in six games. Sullinger was ineffective through those six games, and replaced by Jonas Jerebko as the C’s went small a few games into the series. Sullinger averaged just 13.5 minutes, 5.2 points, and 4.5 rebounds in the postseason.

Was it his last with the Celtics? Sullinger is a restricted free agent this summer, but it remains to be seen how interested the Celtics are in having him back. He made it c

“You don’t know what’s gonna happen so I really can’t speak upon the future, but if I leave it’s gonna be tough walking away from the great guys we have in this locker room,” Sullinger said Thursday after his team was eliminated. “I’m gonna take a couple of days just to reflect on this season and how far we came as a unit and just let everything take care of itself.”

Sullinger made it clear, much like his fellow free-agent teammate Evan Turner, that he’d like to be back with the Celtics.

“For sure,” Sullinger said. “When you spend four seasons in the same area and then play for the greatest organization of all time, you see the likes of Bill Russell sitting courtside, Kevin McHale, Bill Walton and all these people that cheer, it’s very hard to walk away from this situation.”

At just 24 years old, Sullinger has a lot of NBA ahead of him provided he can stay ahead of the curve. He knows he still has work to do.

“It was OK. I’ve got to do a lot of things better, but it was OK,” Sullinger said of his season. “My window is getting smaller and smaller of constantly talking about I need to improve, I need to improve.”