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."

Anthony: Despite trade whispers, 'I'm committed' to staying with Knicks

Anthony: Despite trade whispers, 'I'm committed' to staying with Knicks

BOSTON -- When most of Carmelo Anthony’s elite NBA brethren were looking for max-money deals with the flexibility to bounce to another team from one year to the next, the perennial All-Star signed a five-year, $124 million deal in 2014, which was one of the many ways he showed that he’s all-in on being a New York Knick. 
 
And as the Knicks continue to drop one game after another, 'Melo once again finds himself having to answer questions as to whether he wants to be in New York for the long haul. 
 
He acknowledged prior to tonight’s game against the Boston Celtics that he recently met with Phil Jackson, New York’s president of basketball operations. He declined to talk specifics about the meeting, but he was asked whether he felt a need to reiterate his commitment to a Knicks team that finds itself -- for now at least -- on the outside of the playoff picture. 
 
”I think it was just a . . . yeah, I mean, I'm committed,” he said after the team’s shootaround this morning prior to tonight's Celtics-Knicks game. “I don't have to prove that to anybody. I don't think I have to prove that to anybody. I don’t think I have to keep saying that. I don't think I have to keep talking about that. I know for a fact people know that; people see that. And right now my focus is on playing ball and staying with these guys. Because a lot of these guys have never dealt with all of this stuff before. Especially being in a market like New York and dealing with the articles and everybody has a different opinion on different situations. So a lot of these guys have never dealt with that. So for me it's just, it's all about being there. Moreso than ever right now during this time for them.”
  
Since he arrived via (forced) traded from Denver, 'Melo has seen his share of ups and downs in New York -- probably more downs in terms of the team’s success.
 
But even with that familiarity, Anthony acknowledged that this season’s problems do have a different feel than previous ones. 
 
“I've had this a couple times over the past couple seasons so I kinda know what this feeling is like,” Anthony said. “I think now it's a little bit different being the fact that the guys we have on this team, the talent level that's on this team, and for us to still kinda be losing these games, close games, non-close games . . . that's a different feeling.”
 
New York traded for Derrick Rose, a former league MVP, and signed Joakim Noah via free agency. 
 
With those former Bulls, coupled with Anthony and an emerging star in Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks were expected to provide a nucleus for success that would position them to be a playoff contender. The season is still young, but they've have been one of the bigger disappointments in the NBA this season. 
 
After a 16-13 start, their slide began with a Christmas Day loss to Boston that put them in a tailspin that they’re still trying to play their way out of. They come into tonight’s game having lost 11 of their last 13 games and sit six games below .500 at 18-24.
 
And as far as Anthony's future with the Knicks, if he leaves it will be his decision. 
 
But he's maintained -- throughout the peaks and valleys in his time with the Knicks -- that he has no desire to play for any other franchise, which is why the no-trade he has is so important. 
 
Simply put, he ain’t leaving New York unless he wants to. 
 
“I think as players you always want to protect yourself,” Anthony said. “I didn't think it would get to this point, but I think as a player if you can get that (no-trade clause), you have a right to protect yourself and take care of yourself when it comes to that. It's very hard to get . . . So, I have it and that's that.”

Celtics are living by the 3-pointer at a historic level

Celtics are living by the 3-pointer at a historic level

BOSTON – It has been well-established that the Celtics are a three-point shooting, bombs away kind of team and nothing seems like it’ll deter them from continuing along that path.
 
But as we prepare for the second half of the season, beginning tonight against the New York Knicks, we come to realize Boston’s launching of 3-pointers isn’t just unusually high.
 
This group of Celtics rank among the league's all-time leaders in 3-point attempts by the halfway mark of the season.

And when you look at the company they’re keeping when it comes to 3-point shooting, it speaks to how important it has become in this NBA to have as many long-range shooting threats on the floor as possible if you're trying to win at a high level.
 
Boston’s 494 3-point attempts thus far this season ranks fourth all-time by the halfway point of a season. But this season, that’s just good enough to be third behind Houston and Golden State with 617 and 505 three-point attempts, respectively.
 
The other team in the top four all-time is last season's Golden State squad, which took 519 three-pointers by the midway point of the season.
 
And all those 3’s by the Celtics have included an NBA-record six straight games in which they made at least 15 3-pointers.
 
That has allowed the Celtics to score at least 100 points in 15 consecutive games, the franchise’s longest such streak since they reached the 100-point plateau in 19 straight games in 1991.
 
Of course Isaiah Thomas’ 3-point shooting stands out, particularly when you see how dominant he has been this season in the fourth quarter with a league-best 10.1 points per game.
 
But his offense, while potent, is aided heavily by the shot-making snipers coach Brad Stevens surrounds him with on a nightly basis.
 
That’s why you didn’t see Stevens or president of basketball operations Danny Ainge freak out earlier this season when the Celtics were struggling.
 
Kelly Olynyk, who shot better than 40 percent on 3’s a year ago, was still on the mend after offseason shoulder surgery.
 
Jae Crowder, whose 3-point shooting has steadily improved throughout his career, had some minor injuries that set him back and maybe more important, didn’t allow him to get into the kind of shooting rhythm we see now which has allowed him to shoot a team-best 42.6 percent on 3’s.
 
Al Horford, Thomas, Amir Johnson … they all missed some time due to injuries this season, which has impacted the team’s chemistry and timing.
 
But the past couple of weeks have seen the Celtics healthier than they’ve been most of this season, and it has allowed them to play with the kind of space they want which has allowed Thomas and his cohorts to take lots of lightly contested to open 3’s most of this season.
 
“We’ve got pretty good shooters on this team where you’ve got to pick your poison,” Thomas said. “We’re shooting at a high level, and I got to say, you just have to pick your poison who you want to stop and my job is just to make the right play each and every time down.”