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.
WALTHAM, Mass. – The right Achilles’ strain that has kept Avery Bradley out of five of the Celtics’ past six games, will continue to keep the 6-foot-2 guard sidelined.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will not play Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Stevens added that no additional tests have been taken and the Achilles’ itself is structurally fine.
“He’s got a lot of soreness around it, and that’s one of those things you have to be ultra-careful with,” said Stevens, who later added that Bradley would not practice with the team today. “When he [Bradley] came back, he said he felt a lot better, and then he played and the next day he practiced. We didn’t do anything live but he did a lot of cutting and did not feel near as good. That’s why he didn’t play Wednesday.”
The absence of Bradley was clearly felt in a 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, a game in which Knicks guard Derrick Rose – the man Bradley would have likely spent defending most of the game – scored 30 points.
This season, all-NBA first team defender is the Celtics’ No. 2 scorer at 17 points per game along with averaging a team-best 6.9 rebounds.
In addition, Bradley is shooting a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range, as well as dishing out 2.4 assists per game, which also represents a career-high for the 26-year-old.
WALTHAM, Mass. – To dunk or not to dunk with the best in the NBA?
That is the question Celtics rookie forward Jaylen Brown is grappling with these days.
The 6-foot-7 Brown confirmed that he has been invited to be part of the league’s Slam Dunk competition at All-Star weekend, but hasn’t made up his mind as to whether he will participate.
Brown said he’ll likely make a decision about it sometime this weekend.
While he certainly understands that is indeed an honor for any player to be asked to participate in All-Star weekend, Brown said his trepidation about being part of the slam dunk competition has a lot to do with its potential impact on his body and how that may affect his ability to recharge over the weekend and get ready to finish out his rookie season strong.
If he decided to enter the contest, he would be facing some really stiff competition from last year’s winner Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, whose battle last season put their slam dunk competition among the best ever.
Facing tough competition is not something that concerns Brown.
“I’m not worried about anybody or anything,” Brown said. “I think I have a lot to offer. Just like your rookie year, your body and everything … it’s a lot. All those dunks, they look cool but it takes a toll on your body for sure. I want to put myself in the best position to help the team.”
While his focus has been on the Celtics, Brown acknowledged he has been getting a few tips on the competition from teammate Gerald Green, who is also a former Slam Dunk champion.
“[Gerald] Green has been coaching me up, giving me a lot of good ideas I wouldn’t have thought on my own,” Brown said. “If I do decide to do it, it’ll be some stuff [nobody] has seen before.”