Growing up on the glass Report: Ray one and done with Heat

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Growing up on the glass Report: Ray one and done with Heat

LAS VEGAS -- Jared Sullinger was raised on rebounding.

When most children were learning about the importance of sharing and playing well with others, he was being taught the value of crashing the boards and nabbing loose balls.

At the age of four.

My pops always told me to grab it off the boards, Sullinger told CSNNE.com at the NBA Las Vegas Summer League. Thats what I do.

The 6-9 forward averaged 9.2 rebounds his sophomore year at the Ohio State before being selected this summer by the Celtics with the 21st overall pick in the NBA Draft.

Sullinger averaged 8.3 rebounds a game at the Orlando Pro Summer League. With another week of summer league play coming up in Las Vegas, he's looking to improve his performance on the glass.

I played OK, he said of his Orlando performance. I could play better. I missed a lot of shots I normally make. Then Ive got to get on the offensive rebounds a little bit more and the defensive rebounds a little more. So youll probably see a little bit of that here.

Celtics Summer League head coach Tyronn Lue offered another perspective on Sullingers performance.

I thought since hes been such a great passer, we had him catching the ball on the elbow, playing away from the basket a lot, pick and pop, and stuff like that so he couldnt really get on the offensive glass, Lue said. But defensively, I thought he did a good job on the boards.

The Celtics were impressed by Sullingers rebounding skills when they drafted him. Adding another big to crash the boards should boost their roster. They were the worst rebounding team in the league last season with 38.8 per game and a differential of -4.4. They also finished last in the NBA in offensive rebounds with 7.7 per game, 6.2 less than the league-leading Chicago Bulls.

Sullingers not a sprinter by any stretch, but hes a rebounder and youve got to have the ball to run, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said on draft night. So I think thatll be important."

While Sullinger may be entering his first NBA season, the 20-year-old has been embracing rebounding for more than 15 years.

Its always a focus, he said. If you can rebound the basketball, youre always going to have a job here in the NBA. All youve got to do is rebound the basketball, and I take pride in that.

Don't expect to see Celtics shy away from 3-pointers

Don't expect to see Celtics shy away from 3-pointers

BOSTON – There were a bunch of numbers from Boston’s 121-114 loss to Detroit on Wednesday that stood out. 

Among the eye-grabbing stats was the fact that the Celtics had taken 42 3s (with 15 makes), an unusually high number of attempts that we may see matched or even surpassed tonight against the Sacramento Kings. 

Don’t count head coach Brad Stevens among those surprised to see the Celtics attempt a lot of three-pointers. 

Last season the Celtics took 26.1 three-pointers per game which ranked 11th in the NBA. 

This season they’re up to 31.2 three-pointers attempted and 11.3 made which both rank fifth in the NBA. 

You can count Kelly Olynyk among the Celtics pleased with the team's increased emphasis on shooting 3s. 

The 7-foot led the NBA in shooting percentage (.405) on 3s taken last season.

"We play a lot of spread offense with four shooters, four perimeter guys," Olynyk, who is shooting 38.1 percent on 3s this season, told CSNNE.com. "We're trying to make teams shrink their defense and spray out and hopefully make shots. You're making extra passes, giving up good ones for great ones. And we have some pretty good shooters on our team. That's the way we're trying to play. It's just a matter of us making shots."

And the Celtics face a Kings team ranks among the NBA’s worst at limiting 3-point attempts with Sacramento opponents averaging 28.4 three-pointers taken per game which ranks 25th in the league. 

One of Stevens’ main points about three-pointers is while it’s an important shot for them, they need to be the right shot, the right basketball play at the right time. 

And when asked about the 42 attempts against the Pistons, he was quick to acknowledge those were for the most part the right shots to be taken. 

“They are,” Stevens said. “At the end of the day we want lay-ups. And if we don’t get layups, we want the floor to be shrunk. If the defense shrinks in, you’re able to touch the paint and kick out. Two of our last three games, maybe three of the last four, two-thirds of our possessions we touched the paint or shrunk the defense with a roll. That’s our objective. We’re not a team that gets to the foul line a lot. We’re not a team that rebounds at a high rate. And we haven’t scored in transition. To be able to be sitting where we are offensively, a big reason is because we space the floor.”

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

BOSTON – No one is proclaiming DeMarcus Cousins’ demeanor is all that radically different than past seasons. 

But the volatile nature that has often overshadowed his on-the-court-brilliance, doesn’t seem to shine as brightly as it used to. 

Maybe he’s growing up. 

Maybe he’s finally comfortable with his team. 

And then there’s the almighty dollar which was the incentive for one of his teammates, Matt Barnes, to clean up his act as far as racking up technical fouls and being fined by the league. 

I asked Barnes whether there was a light bulb moment or a teammate or player that helped him get on track and not draw so much attention from officials and the league office. 

“It was all the money I was being fined,” he said. “I think I lost like $600,000 over my career for fines. It was time to kind of wake and say ‘hey, they don’t like you so you have to stick to the book.’”

With Barnes returning to Sacramento (he played for the Kings during the 2004-2005 season), he finds an intense, kindred spirit of sorts in Cousins who like Barnes has had his share of technical and fines handed down by the league office. 

This season, Cousins is the NBA’s leader in technical fouls with six. 

“I’ve always had a good head on my shoulders,” Barnes said. “I’m just a passionate player. I play with my emotion on my sleeve. I think DeMarcus does the same thing. What I’m trying to show him now, we have to keep our emotions and energy focused towards the right things. That could be detrimental to the team if it gets out of hand.”

First-year coach Dave Joerger has been pleased to see how different Cousins is to be around on a daily basis as opposed to how he’s perceived. 

“He gets credit for his talent. He gets credit that he’s improved in the league,” Joerger said. “I think he doesn’t get enough credit for the way that his approach to the game and the way that he’s carrying himself and conducting himself has greatly improved. He’s a good person. Now being with him, I see improvement over the last three years, the way that he goes about his business. I think that’s very positive.”