First half proves too much to overcome for Celtics

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First half proves too much to overcome for Celtics

BROOKLYN, N.Y. The Boston Celtics delivered yet another Jekyl-and-Hyde kind of performance in their 102-97 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
As strong as the C's were for the most part in the second half, a woeful effort most of the first half ultimately proved to be too much for them to fully overcome.
"I was disappointed with our effort in the first half," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "I thought they just kicked our butts. They were more physical, went over our backs, pushed us around."
And the numbers made this painfully clear.
Offensive rebounds: Boston 6, Brooklyn 15.
Total rebounds: Boston 17, Brooklyn 26
Second-chance points: Boston 6, Brooklyn 19.
Getting bully-balled like that and still be down by just nine points at the half?
The C's were ripe for a rally in the second half, which is exactly what they were able to do.
Boston was able to lead by as many as six points in the second half, but could not hold on as the Nets managed to make all the big shots and get the big stops when it mattered most.
And the C's contributed to their own demise in the second half with critical misses from the field and the free throw line.
"We had point-blank wide open looks at the elbow, we missed lay-ups, we missed free throws," Rivers said. "Maybe that was because we had to fight out of a ditch, a hole in the third quarter. I liked our looks. I liked how we finished the game overall. We just didn't win it."
And while there were plenty of factors that contributed to the loss, none sticks out as much as the team's overall lackluster play in the first half.
"We can't wait to turn it on when we get down and decide when we want to play," said Paul Pierce, who missed a pair if critical free throws in the final minute of play. "It has to be from the start."

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

BOSTON – The trip to the TD Garden is one that Jared Sullinger has made many times but never like this. 

The former Celtic was back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent. 

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“I had a feeling it was going to go that way once they signed big Al (Horford), that they were going to let me go,” Sullinger said prior to Friday’s game.  “We were prepared for it. It is what it is. I’m happy these guys are doing well.”

And he hopes to say the same for himself sometime in the future after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot – the same foot he had season-ending surgery on during the 2014-2015 season with the Celtics. 

There’s no specific timetable as to when he’ll be back on the floor, and Sullinger is cool with that plan. 

“I don’t know. They’re hiding the protocol from me so I won’t rush; we’ll see,” said Sullinger who is still in a walking boot. 

The 6-foot-9 forward played well in the preseason and solidified himself as the team’s starting power forward. 

Now that he’s out with another injury, he’ll have to once again try and prove himself either later this season when he returns, or this summer when he becomes a free agent again.

For now, Sullinger is happy to be back in town, seeing lots of familiar faces, friends and ex-teammates that he says he still keeps in close contact with. 

“Some of these guys I considered like brothers to me,” Sullinger said. “IT (Isaiah Thomas), Jae Crowder to name a few. So I watch from a distance, I support from a distance. They’re playing well.”

In addition to his former teammates, the lines of communication remained open between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well. 

Stevens said the two exchanged text messages right before he had foot surgery, and afterwards. 

“Obviously, everyone here wishes a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back on the court soon,” Stevens said. 

Sullinger has been an effective player during his time in the NBA, with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. 

But this will be the third time in his five NBA seasons that he will miss a significant amount of time on the court due to an injury or recovering from an injury. 

Stevens acknowledged that he feels for Sullinger who once again has to go through rehabilitation in order to get back on the floor.

“I like Jared a lot,” Stevens said. “He’s a heck of a player, he’s a really smart guy. Got a lot of respect for him and it stinks that he’s got to go through that but he’ll come back strong I’m sure.”