Sullinger gets start for Celtics vs. Heat

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Sullinger gets start for Celtics vs. Heat

BOSTON For the past couple of weeks, Jared Sullinger has played like a starter for the Celtics. Today against the Heat, he will be a starter as Doc Rivers continues to search for answers as to what's the best way to turn the C's season around.

The 6-foot-9 rookie will be making his fourth start of the season for the Celtics who come into today's game against Miami riding a season-worst six game losing streak.

Rivers explained his reasoning behind the move before Sunday's game.

"More because Jared is playing well," said Rivers. "Honestly I don't love it because I worry about our bench."

That's because starting Sullinger takes away one of the C's most productive backup big men of late.

In his last five games, Sullinger has averaged 6.6 points and 8 rebounds off the bench.

But the biggest downside to starting Sullinger is that it likely means the C's will have stretches in which both Sullinger and Garnett are on the bench, which does not bode well for Boston's chances of holding their own on the glass during that spell.

Sullinger's ascension to being a starter should not come as a surprise, especially when you consider he's replacing Brandon Bass who has struggled most of this season.

Not only are Bass' individual numbers down across the board -- that includes minutes played which is a factor in the dip -- but also his impact on games when he does play.

The Celtics are minus-135 this season with Bass on the floor. The team's highest plusminus ratio? That would be Sullinger, at plus-42.

Wyc Grousbeck: Celtics season ticket renewals at 98% for next season

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Wyc Grousbeck: Celtics season ticket renewals at 98% for next season

Celtics Managing Partner and CEO Wyc Grousbeck talks with Toucher & Rich about the 98% renewals on season tickets for next year, and how that is unheard of.

Hawks have experience closing teams out, but not in Boston

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Hawks have experience closing teams out, but not in Boston

BOSTON – Before their first-round series began with the Celtics, the Hawks had a decisive advantage when it came to experience.
 
The bulk of last year’s team, which finished with the best record in the East and advanced to the Eastern Conference finals, was back. They’re facing a Boston team that began the season with the fifth-youngest roster in the NBA.
 
During Atlanta’s journey, there have been many lessons learned.
 
Among them?
 
How to close out teams on the road, something they will try to do tonight against Boston in Game 6 of their best-of-seven first round series.
 
“It’s fair to say anytime you’re trying to close out a team, it’s the most difficult game,” said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer. “There’s a desperation that they’ll have that you have to match. Our players have been in this situation before; hopefully find a way to get it done.”
 
Last season, the Hawks closed out their first- and second-round series with Game 6 wins on the road at Brooklyn and Washington.
 
Winning on the road takes a tremendous amount of focus and attention to detail.
 
That will be easier said than done, especially playing at the TD Garden, which has been a House of Horrors for Atlanta when it comes to playoff games.
 
Boston comes into tonight’s game having won 10 straight against the Hawks at home in the playoffs, with the last loss coming in 1988. That’s just part of a 22-2 all-time record Boston has against the Hawks at home in the playoffs which includes a perfect 9-0 mark at the TD Garden.
 
And in this series, there really has been a home-court advantage with each of the first five games having been won by the home team.
 
It’s a trend the Hawks will be focused on trying to end tonight.
 
But to do so won’t be easy, especially in the face of a crowd that has been tremendously important to Boston thus far in this series.
 
No one knows this better than Atlanta guard Dennis Schroder, who was booed every time he touched the ball in Boston’s Game 4 victory, which was also the worst game for Schroder in this series.
 
The booing stemmed from a Game 3 incident involving Schroder and Boston’s Isaiah Thomas that potentially could have ended with Thomas being suspended for Game 4.
 
Instead, league officials reviewed the incident and eventually ruled a flagrant-1 penalty against Thomas for the contact he made with Schroder’s head.
 
“I just try to compete and try to win games,” said Schroder who had seven points on 3-for-13 shooting in Game 4. “They have a good crowd. They help their players. It don’t matter to me. I just try to win games.”
 
Thomas received similar treatment from the Atlanta crowd in Game 5 and like Schroder, had a similarly horrible night (seven points, 3-for-12 shooting) offensively.
 
It speaks to one of the many unspoken challenges that tend to prop up the deeper you get into a playoff series that makes winning on the road even tougher.
 
“You just have to fight through it,” Schroder said. “It’s the playoffs.”
 
 

Grousbeck: Celtics advantage is cap space for two max free agents

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Grousbeck: Celtics advantage is cap space for two max free agents

Celtics CEO & Governor Wyc Grousbeck joins Toucher & Rich to discuss why he hopes this offseason will be the one where major free agents will strongly consider signing with the Celtics.