Sullinger continues to impress with first double-double

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Sullinger continues to impress with first double-double

BOSTON -- Jared Sullinger knew his role from being the centerpiece of the Ohio State University basketball team would change once he entered the NBA.

From the moment the Boston Celtics drafted him with the 21st pick this summer, he emphasized the importance of rebounding and chipping in wherever the team needed help. Ten games into his first season, he is practicing what he preached.

On Saturday, the rookie recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds off the bench during the Celtics 107-89 win over the Toronto Raptors. Rebounding came first, scoring was secondary. He grabbed three boards in his first three minutes on the court

"Sully does small things like rebound the ball, the way he gets guys open," said Kevin Garnett. "Small things that you're probably looking for stat-wise, when you're playing with him and you're his teammate, his dives, his rolls, getting JT (Jason Terry) open looks, little small things that aren't going to show up on your yellow pad, the small things which he does makes us better. In order for us to be better and in this process in getting better, everybody has to do those things.

"So you know what? On your yellow pad he's not that big of a deal, tonight obviously for your yellow pad he did a great job, but overall Sully's doing small things along with Chris (Wilcox) and all the other guys that are making us come out of this funk that we were in."

Sullinger played over 26 minutes on Saturday, an increase of from the eight he played against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday. Head coach Doc Rivers had outlined the consequences of giving up offensive rebounds and Sullinger had to oblige. Rivers sensed unhappiness from the 20-year-old forward, but appreciated that he put it out of his mind two days later.

"He wasn't happy about not playing against Brooklyn," said Rivers. "And I just told all the guys, 'Guys got offensive rebounds on you, you're coming out.' And he was the first. I thought he really did a great job overall (against the Raptors). They got a couple but I thought he was aggressive. He just knows how to play. He's a calming effect at times when you put him in, and I don't think I've ever said that about a rookie. It's nice to have that."

Said Sullinger, "I just had to channel my energy towards the next game, understand that even though I don't play a lot, there's still a lot of things I can do to help the basketball team. I wasn't upset that I didn't play a lot, I was just upset that we lost. That's my main priority, to win."

Sullinger's first double-double is a glimpse into his potential. Since coming into the league, he has working on improving his consistency, shooting abilities, lateral quickness, and conditioning. He has always understood his role on the veteran team, and he is making an impact by embracing it.

"What I came here to do is just to rebound," he said. "Then everything else just falls into place."

Game notes: Celtics look to extend Kings’ Boston losing streak to nine

Game notes: Celtics look to extend Kings’ Boston losing streak to nine

BOSTON – Here are a few odds and ends to keep an eye on heading into tonight’s game against the Sacramento Kings: 
 
· The Celtics have won eight in a row over the Kings in Boston, with the last loss to Sacramento at the TD Garden coming on Jan. 19, 2007. Current Celtic Gerald Green was in the starting lineup that night. 

· Only six times in franchise history have the Celtics launched 38 or more 3-pointers in a game, four of which came in the month of November this season. 

· Speaking of 3-pointers, 36.2 percent of Boston’s shots are 3s. That ranks fifth in the league behind Houston, Cleveland, Brooklyn and Golden State.

· Don’t be surprised if Avery Bradley gets off to a good start tonight, especially from 3-point range. He’s shooting 59.1 percent on 3s in the first quarter which ranks second in the league. 

· Isaiah Thomas tallied 395 points scored in November, the most by a Celtic since John Havlicek had 406 points in November during the 1971-1972 season. 

· Boston leads the NBA in points scored (46.3 per game) by second-round picks. The Celtics’ second-round picks include Isaiah Thomas; Jae Crowder; Amir Johnson; Jonas Jerebko; Demetrius Jackson and Jordan Mickey.

· The Celtics are 5-0 this season when they outrebound an opponent. 

· Tonight’s game will be Boston’s fifth set of back-to-back games this season. In the first game, they are 3-1 this season. On the second night, they are 2-2.

Beyond the numbers: Kings offense will test Celtics defense

Beyond the numbers: Kings offense will test Celtics defense

BOSTON – When it comes to defense, the Celtics are quick to claim that it is indeed the foundation for which their team is built upon. 
 
Still, far too often this season, we have seen cracks in their usually Teflon-tough defense, the kind that ultimately means the difference between winning and losing.
 
The Celtics’ defense will once again need to step up and play well tonight against a Sacramento squad that has shown it can fill it up offensively of late. 
 
Sacramento (7-11) has scored 100 or more points in eight of their past 10 games. In that span, their 107.2 points per game ranks ninth in the league. 
 
In that same span, the Celtics have allowed opponents to score 100.3 points per game, which ranks 10th in the NBA in fewest points allowed.
 
And when it comes to winning, limiting teams to less than 100 points has been huge in Boston’s win total. 
 
The Celtics have held eight opponents to 100 points or less this season. 
 
Their record in those games? 8-0.
 
Within that limited scoring, Boston must also make sure teams don’t get into a nice groove shooting the ball. 
 
Boston is 0-5 this season when an opponent shoots 48 percent or better from the field. 
 
While there are several things Boston must do to be successful, having the right kind of defensive disposition ranks at or near the top of that list in their efforts to play with the kind of defensive success that gave so many hope that this would the year Boston would hold court among the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

“We have to get a little more nastier on the defensive end and not let a team come in and get comfortable,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder.