Sullinger, Olynyk proving to be best tandem on C's

Sullinger, Olynyk proving to be best tandem on C's
March 11, 2014, 7:00 pm
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There has been a lot of mixing and matching within the Boston Celtics lineup this season, but the chemistry between Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger when they are on the floor together is undeniable.

"Both are real cerebral basketball players," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters prior to Tuesday's game at Indiana. "They're young but the game comes pretty easy to them from the big picture standpoint."

The two have played 342 minutes together this season, and are +5.2 during that time.

It's the highest plus/minus for any Celtics tandem that has played as many minutes or more this season.

Both have shown the ability to impact the game around the basket as well as from the perimeter, although each has a clear role when playing together.

"Sully is probably our best low-post player," Stevens said. "He's very good on the block. Kelly can then pass and we can play through Kelly with Sully more of a low post threat."

Pairing the two youngsters together was indeed on Boston's "to-do" list this season.

However, Stevens is somewhat limited as far as how much time on the floor he can play them in tandem because both are still figuring out how to be effective on the defensive end of the floor with racking up lots of fouls.

Both players fouled out in Boston's 91-84 win over Brooklyn on Friday night.

"They're ahead of their years in how they understand the game," Stevens said. "We've talked about this a little bit. The key is can we get those two guys to guard the two front-court players of the other team while they're in together. Because really they're both 4s (power forwards), young 4s."

And they will indeed be challenged defensively tonight in trying to limit a Pacers team that's extremely deep at the center position.

"Tonight is a great test for that," Stevens said. "If you can play against David West and if you can play against (Luis) Scola, that's a really good sign. Those guys test you in ways others don't."