Celtics lose battle of the boards

635178.jpg

Celtics lose battle of the boards

BOSTON When the Boston Celtics return to the court next week, they will look to rebound - literally - from a disappointing 87-74 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

It was a game in which the C's struggled mightily in every imaginable phase of the game, which included them tying a franchise-low with 25 points in the first half.

But it was their inability to keep the Pacers (5-2) off the offensive boards that, maybe more than anything else, led to their four-game winning streak coming to an end.

Indiana enjoyed a 47-36 rebounding advantage which factored heavily into their 19-5 advantage in second-chance points.

"There were a lot of shots being missed by both teams," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. "That means there's going to be a lot of offensive rebound opportunities. The difference was they had seven more (offensive rebounds) than us when you get straight down to it."

Kevin Garnett played nearly 34 minutes, and finished with six rebounds - zero on the offensive boards.

"It's always on the bigs to rebound, obviously," Garnett said. "It starts with the bigs, myself included. We have to do a better job, I know I have to."

And while the Boston big men certainly were a factor in the team's rebounding woes, the C's guards played a prominent role as well.

Indiana's dribble penetration forced Boston's big men to help out defensively. Once the Pacers put up shots, the Celtics guard didn't do a good job of putting a body on Indiana's big men, which allowed them to get several second and third-shot opportunities.

Rajon Rondo had five rebounds - that was more than any other Celtics guard - but he too acknowledged that the C's guards had to do a better job of helping out on the boards.

"It's not on the bigs; it's all five of us out there," Rondo said. "We didn't do a good job boxing out. Guards getting beat off the dribble; our bigs were stepping up. And when they shot the ball, our bigs were off their bodies. It's no excuses. We just played really bad tonight; it showed."

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. 

MORE:

“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.”