Stevens finds unlikely trio in first game

Stevens finds unlikely trio in first game
October 7, 2013, 11:45 pm
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BOSTON — Even before the Boston Celtics' 97-89 preseason loss to Toronto on Monday, head coach Brad Stevens had every intention of continuing to tinker with different lineups and rotations.

But in the short time he has been the Celtics' head coach, Stevens' experimentation has unearthed a trio of players who have quickly shown an ability to play together effectively.

Gerald Wallace, Jared Sullinger and rookie Kelly Olynyk are about as different a trio as you'll find on this roster.

Wallace is a high-energy, athletic wing player.

Sullinger is a bulky, undersized power forward with a soft touch around the basket.

And Olynyk is a 7-foot rookie with a point guard's mentality, evident by him dishing out a team-high five assists on Monday.

"Guys are making hard cuts, setting good screens, you want to reward them for that kind of stuff," said Olynyk who also had four points and a pair of rebounds. "Anytime you get other people involved and make people around you better, that's a great thing to do in the game of basketball."

Said Sullinger: "We're very different. That's what makes it fun."

Having a selfless approach to the game clearly binds all three, which may help explain why the trio was so effective in their first preseason game.

In addition to Olynyk's team-high five assists, Wallace scored a team-high 16 points while Sullinger chipped in 14 points to go with six rebounds and four assists.

"We can read (coverages); we can understand offense very well," Sullinger said.

But their impact went beyond their own personal stats.

"They did a really good job out there," said Stevens. "You know, I don't have a plus/minus report right now ... but they played pretty well together."

Olynyk and Wallace were plus-3 and plus-2, respectively, when they were on the floor while the C's were plus-9, the best on the team, when Sullinger was in the game.

Wallace believes he plays well with anyone, but added that there has been a special connection between him, Sullinger and Olynyk.

"Those are guys that for me personally, stretch the floor," Wallace said. "They're able to knock down jumpshots and stretch the floor and open up the lane for me. I'm able to penetrate and get in the middle and kick out to those guys. We compliment each other well on the court."