Buckeye bond for Sullinger and Turner

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Buckeye bond for Sullinger and Turner

BOSTON -- J.J. Sullinger became like an older brother to Evan Turner when he entered Ohio State University. In turn, Turner developed the same kind of relationship with J.J.'s younger sibling, Jared. Five years later, the former Buckeyes are seeing their bond play out on the NBA court.

Turner met Jared when they were 18 and 15. The Illinois native joined the Ohio State basketball team in 2007, and J.J., who graduated the previous year, took him under his wing. Through Turner's time around the Sullinger family, he took on the big brother role with Jared that J.J. had with him. He enjoyed the combination of Jared's fierce competitiveness and laidback attitude, mixed in with a feisty sense of humor that often included instigating a joke or prank.

"I was always in Columbus Ohio, so I would always go to his game, hang out with the Sully's. They were like fam," Turner told CSNNE.com prior to Sunday's Celtics-Sixers preseason game. "I would go to Jared's games, pick him up, go to the movies back in high school."

Jared was a standout at Northland High School, a team he would lead to a 21-0 record in his senior year. Turner noticed he had a strong physical presence and an even stronger knowledge of the game.

"One thing I've always said about Jared is, he's smart," said Turner. "His IQ is unreal. He was so far ahead of all the big men due to the simple fact that he just knew how to play and use his body."

Turner saw this skill in action when Jared joined a group of OSU players and alumni for a game over the summer. 2007 first overall draft pick Greg Oden had finished his rookie season in the NBA, and Jared paid no attention to the seven-footer's accomplishments.

"I saw him go up against Greg Oden when he was 16 or 17," Turner recalled. "He was destroying Greg Oden, holding his own against him because he knew how to play."

Turner left Ohio State after his junior year and entered the 2010 NBA Draft, where the Philadelphia 76er selected him with the second pick. Even though some worried how the Buckeyes would make up for Turner's 15 points, seven rebounds, and four assists per game, the guard knew his alma matter would be in good hands.

"I told them Jared's going to come in and average 18 and 10, and he did," said Turner. "I already knew he was going to be a big talent player."

Unlike Turner, Jared fell out of the lottery in the NBA Draft. This summer the Celtics selected him with the 21st pick. He has already earned himself significant preseason minutes at only 20 years old on a veteran team. Turner faced him twice in preseason action and says nothing has changed about Sullinger in a good way.

"One thing smart about him is, he's still the same person," said Turner. "People try to go to the league and change their game. He knows how to rebound, he knows how to play, and he's humble enough to take orders and take advice from the veterans that he has. He's got everything going for him now and he's going to have a big, big year."

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics are about to hit one of the toughest stretches of the season and they’ll have to do it for at least one more game without their leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas. 
 
Thomas, who suffered a right groin injury on Monday against the Houston Rockets, did not play on Wednesday against Orlando and said that he will not play in Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors. 
 
“It’s day to day. I want to play. I want to be out there but it’s the smart decision to hold out and wait until it’s 100 percent,” Thomas said during a Season of Giving event for children of the Military Friends Foundation held at the Celtics’ practice facility. “If it was a playoff game I would be out there for sure.”
 
However, after consulting with a number of medical personnel, Thomas decided the best thing for him and the Celtics was to sit out Friday’s game which, along with Wednesday in Orlando, will be the first two he has missed since the 2014-2015 season. 
 
Thomas said there’s no specific timetable for his return, but he said he is planning to travel with the team to Oklahoma City for their matchup against the Thunder on Sunday. 
 
“It’s eating me a live to sit, but I have to do what’s best for my body, I have to do what’s best for this team,” Thomas said. “I need to be 100 percent healthy to give this team what I can give them.”
 
The Celtics are hoping for similar success they had Wednesday in Orlando (a 117-87 victory) on Friday against Toronto.
 
“They played a hell of a game last night,” Thomas said. “They’ll be ready tomorrow.”
 
The fact that Thomas intends to travel with the team is a good sign that the groin injury isn’t too serious. 
 
If he doesn’t play at Oklahoma City, that likely means he’ll return to action on Wednesday at San Antonio. 
 
“I’m going to do what I can to get back out there on the court,” Thomas said. “I gotta be smart about this. I don’t want this to linger on this season.”
 
Replacing Smart in the lineup against Toronto will most likely be Marcus Smart. 
 
Smart, who has been a replacement starter at small forward and point guard this season, had 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals against the Magic.