Sullinger sets Celtics' season high with 16 rebounds


Sullinger sets Celtics' season high with 16 rebounds

BOSTON -- Last June, Jared Sullinger waited for his name to be called in the 2012 NBA Draft. Twenty players were chosen before the Celtics selected him with the 21st overall pick, a move they were excited to make that late into the first round.
The Celtics praised Sullinger's rebounding early on. While many teams passed on the forward due to concerns of a herniated disc, the Celtics were looking for size and brought him on board.
Seven months later, the rookie set a new team season high with 16 rebounds (including five offensive) against the Phoenix Suns.
"You've got to have a go-get-it attitude when it comes to rebounding," said Sullinger. "And that's what I have."
Sullinger has been a welcomed addition on a team that has struggled on the glass over the years. He is averaging 5.7 rebounds this season, including 10.0 per game during the Celtics four-game winning streak.
"I keep saying, 'Rebounds translate,'" said head coach Doc Rivers. "Most of the great rebounders aren't that tall when you think about it. They're big, they're physical, and they have great instincts. I think that's the number one thing. You have them big, you have them thin. Dennis Rodman was tall and thin -- he got all the rebounds. Just think about the list of great rebounders. They just have a knack for the ball, and they have great hands, every single one of them."
Sullinger's development over the season has given point guard Rajon Rondo a partner in transition. With Sullinger (6-foot-9, 260 pounds) crashing the glass and getting Rondo the outlet pass, the team has more opportunities for fast breaks.
"He gets the ball out quick," said Rondo. "When he gets the rebound, he doesn't hold it, he doesn't worry about a turnover. He just tries to get the outlet to me as quick as possible. To play with a big like that, it's big for our team so we can get to the break and get mismatches in transition."Said Kevin Garnett, "His timing, body positioning, he has the perfect body for rebounding. He can take the pounding and bump a little bit, he has great anticipation when it comes to the ball, and he has great hands. Put all that in the pot, you got Jared Sullinger. That's what makes him great."
The 20-year-old is quickly making an impression around the league. Following the Celtics win over the Suns, Marcin Gortat praised Sullinger after his first game against him.
"He's a talented, young big man, strong, big body," Gortat said. "Quite honestly, we focused on totally different guys. We focused on KG (Kevin Garnett), we focused on Brandon Bass, and we tried to make sure these guys aren't going to get going. That's just how it is. There's a lot of new, young studs coming into the league who are just impressing every night. That's how it was with me. Everybody was focusing back in the day on Dwight and I was doing the homework.
"One day it's not going to be easy for him because people will learn he's a good big man who can rebound the ball and who can get you a few buckets."
With others taking notice of his emergence, Sullinger isn't concerned about the teams that passed on him last summer. He is proving his future in the league is one to watch.
"I could care less," he said of his draft pick. "We're winning. We won four in a row, so that's my main focus is winning. Last June was behind me."

Gronkowski takes exception to Cowboys’ ‘Do Your Job’ sign


Gronkowski takes exception to Cowboys’ ‘Do Your Job’ sign

The Dallas Cowboys have a “Do Your Job” sign posted in their locker room and “Gronk Nation” isn’t happy about it.

Here’s an excerpt from “Gronk Nation” - the website of Rob Gronkowski and his family - about “America’s Team” co-opting the slogan of the 2014 Patriots' Super Bowl run: 

While we all know that the Pats thrashed the Cowboys 30-6 last October and Dallas hasn’t been to the Super Bowl since the 1995 season, so they need all the motivation they can get – but can’t America’s Team come up with their own slogan instead of stealing ours?









First impressions of Red Sox’ 2-1 loss to Rays


First impressions of Red Sox’ 2-1 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- First Impressions from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field:


* When the guy who was 0-for-34 produces the go-ahead RBI, it's probably not your day.

The Red Sox and Rays were tied 1-1 in the seventh when Steven Souza Jr. singled to lead off the inning. That brought Mikie Mahtook, hitless in his last 34 at-bats to the plate.

Naturally, Mahtook roped a line-drive double to left field, scoring Souza all the way from first base. It was that kind of day for the Red Sox, who were 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position and stranded five baserunners.

For a team that still leads the majors in runs scored, the Red Sox have shown an uncanny ability to go cold at the plate.

On Thursday afternoon, that happened again, while the most unlikely hero for Tampa Bay came through in an improbable spot.


* The Red Sox' struggles with the bases loaded is almost comical.

It happened again.

In the sixth inning, the Red Sox loaded the bases with no out. Mookie Betts then hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring one run. Hanley Ramirez then walked, re-loading the bases, this time with one out.

But Jackie Bradley Jr. then swung at the first pitch and hit into an inning-ending, rally-killing 4-6-3 double play.

In two plate appearances with the bases loaded, the Sox failed to get a hit.

The Sox are hitting .216 with the bases loaded (24-for-111), ranking them 14th in the American League. Only Seattle and Detroit have had more bases-loaded opportunities, and yet the Red Sox rank in the second half in runs scored in such situations.


* Drew Pomeranz is showing no signs of innings fatigue

True, Pomeranz failed to provide a shutdown inning in the sixth after the Red Sox had gotten him a run in the top of the inning.

Still, Pomeranz pitched into the seventh and allowed just two runs while striking out a season-high 11 batters.

In his past five starts, he's compiled a 2.37 ERA, and both the power to his fastball and the sharpness to his curve offer no evidence that he's hit any sort of wall despite already establishing a career high at the major league level with five weeks remaining in the season.