Nothing he hasn't done before

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Nothing he hasn't done before

If you want it, go out and get it.

Jared Sullinger's family delivered the message to the youngest sibling from the day he began
playing basketball.

At four years old, he learned how to fight for rebounds against his two older brothers. There was no special treatment for the toddler. If he wanted to shoot the ball, he had to fight for it himself.

Success will not be handed to you.

Sullinger took that mentality and ran with it, even when met with obstacles he had to maneuver his way around.

He battled with his weight as a child and suffered teasing from those less tolerant of his struggle.

Other kids called him "Bozo" when his feet skyrocketed to his current shoe size, 18, in middle
school.

Even when he excelled as a high school star and became a standout at The Ohio State
University, his NBA future was clouded by a herniated disc which caused teams to pass by him in the 2012 NBA Draft.

The Celtics saw potential, not red flags, and selected Sullinger with the 21st overall pick. They were aware of his condition and understood there could be issues in the future, but they could not ignore the talent, hustle, and passion exuded by the 20 year old forward.

Sullinger immediately latched on to the Celtics system and tradition when he joined the team last summer. He spoke at Las Vegas Summer League in July about accepting his (lesser) role, and joined his teammates in Waltham a month later for pre-season workouts at the Celtics practice facility. In September, he began soaking up as much wisdom as he could from Kevin Garnett and quickly earned the respect of the hard-to-please veteran, as well as teammates and coaches alike.

While he faced rookie challenges in game competition (he fouled out six games in January
alone), those in the Celtics organization took notice of his quick progress. After years in which rookies rode the bench, Sullinger was given the nod to start in five games, including Sunday's high-tension battle against the Miami Heat. He had also started Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings in which he left the game early in the first quarter with back spasms. On Friday, the Celtics announced he underwent lumbar disc surgery at the New England Baptist Hospital and will miss the remainder of the season.

The Celtics expect Sullinger (6.0 points, 5.9 rebounds) to be ready in time for training camp next season. On the day of his surgery, the rookie is most likely already thinking about his return.

The road to his recovery will not be easy, but nothing about Sullinger's career has been. If he
wants it, he will have to go out and get it.

He's been doing it his whole life.

Blakely: Celtics not as feared as they were last season

Blakely: Celtics not as feared as they were last season

BOSTON -- On more than one occasion Monday night, the Boston Celtics were a discombobulated bunch with some players thinking they were running one play, while others were thinking the play called was something totally different.
 
You see that stuff in the preseason and to a certain extent in the regular season for a lot of teams. It is in those moments that we’re reminded that this Boston Celtics team is a work in progress on so many levels.
 
Because of that, we all need to hit the pause button when talking about them as a team inching closer towards Eastern Conference supremacy.
 
After the first month of the season, they have yet to show that they are going to be better than last season’s 48-win ball club.
 
The big problem a year ago was the offense bogging down and for the most part, not making shots. This year, it’s the team’s defense that has let them down on many nights.
 
And with that comes a sobering reminder this crew is good, but at best are maybe top-five in the East.
 
As a team on the rise, beating teams you’re not supposed to has to happen with some semblance of regularity.
 
There were only three teams on the Celtics’ docket this season thus far that they should have been beaten by without there being any argument: Golden State, San Antonio and Cleveland.
 
They were beaten in all three, two of which (Golden State and Cleveland) had final scores that did not indicate the level of dominance they had over the Celtics.
 
The average margin of defeat in the three games was 9.3 points, but two of them (San Antonio and Golden State) were at the TD Garden, which is supposed to be the equalizer for upset-minded teams.
 
But in each game, Boston put up a decent fight only to fail to emerge victorious.
 
The struggles against the upper echelon teams of the NBA has nothing to do with not having a superstar or a great rebounder or any of the kazillion reasons/excuses offered up as to why they’re not better.
 
It’s hunger.
 
It’s effort.
 
It’s about being blinded by the internet clicks that tout them as one of the best teams in the East, and them not seeing the danger that comes with embracing all that patting on the back.
 
It makes you soft.
 
It makes you fat and happy.
 
And maybe most significant, it creates a false sense of arrival before you’ve left the tarmac.
 
That’s where the Boston Celtics are right now: a team that seems to have forgotten why they were the team nobody wanted to play last year.
 
It wasn’t that teams feared playing them. It was the fact that they knew playing the Celtics would be tough, and it would force them to play a lot closer to their full potential than they were used to if they wanted to win.
 
It was because everyone knew that to beat the Celtics, you don’t have a choice but to play hard because you damn well knew they would.
 
Not anymore.
 
They bring that toughness to the game in small doses, like an intra-venous drip full of hope and promise, providing just enough to life to keep their fans optimistic but not nearly enough to kill the noise of their haters and critics.
 
And while the season is still young, the Celtics need to start racking up some quality wins.
 
Right now, their most impressive win is a toss-up between beating Charlotte 104-98 on Oct. 29, or a 94-92 win at Detroit on Nov. 19.
 
Boston plays at Orlando on Wednesday, a team that’s likely to be back in the lottery again. But after that, they travel back to Boston where they’ll host Toronto -- a game that they desperately need to not only to pad their win total but also provide a much-needed boost of energy and confidence going forward.

The Celtics have to find that hunger, that collective desire that we’ve seen in the past which has propelled them to greater heights than we’ve seen thus far.
 
Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford… you can go down the roster and the mission for all of them has to be the same: play harder, for longer, and be smarter about it, because this team has too much collective talent to be just three games above .500.
 
At 12-9, Boston is third in the East and trail conference-leading Cleveland by three games for the best record in the conference. But then you look at the teams behind the Celtics and realize that they’re only two games out of having the ninth-best record in the East.
 
It speaks in part to the season still being in its infancy stage. But it’s also telling as to how Boston does not have a huge margin of error when it comes to losing winnable games.
 
And as we’ve seen thus far, the Celtics can play with any team in the NBA and hold their own.
 
But beating them is a totally different narrative that this squad has yet to write.