Rondo influenced Heat rookie Cole's season

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Rondo influenced Heat rookie Cole's season

BOSTON -- In the Celtics second game of the season, a rookie in just the second game of his career scored 20 points to help the Heat take away a 115-107 win in Miami.

Now only days before the postseason, Heat rookie Norris Cole looked back on how his success against Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has influenced his first year in the NBA.

I learned that I could potentially be good in this league performing against one of the top point guards in Rondo, he told CSNNE.com prior to the Celtics' 78-66 win. It was my first home game so I was playing with a lot of bottled up emotions and I still was able to perform, learn how to perform under a certain amount of pressure at this level, and learn some of the Xs and Os of the game under great defenses.

Cole played 29 minutes off the bench, shooting 8-for-16 from the field and 4-for-6 from the line in the December 27 game. He also recorded four rebounds, four assists, and three steals.

Along the way, Cole paid attention to Rondos moves. He has tried to incorporate them into his game throughout the season.

He rebounds well for a guard, very well, Cole said. He controls just about everything that happens on the team. Being a leader and being able to affect the game on both ends, I think thats what I took the most from it and thats what I try to add to my game.

Cole entered that early season game with high expectations, and they were affirmed. He has taken that approach to every game he has played so far. Chances are, its a similar mindset to Rondos.

I always expect to play well, Cole said. Thats what we work hard for every day. I have very, very high expectations.

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back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent. 

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“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.”