Sullinger 'ready to dominate' in Celtics uniform


Sullinger 'ready to dominate' in Celtics uniform

Jared Sullinger knows what he's getting himself into after being selected by the Boston Celtics -- and he couldn't be happier.

Sullinger was drafted with the 21st overall pick by Boston Thursday night, slipping to them after bulging disks in his back proved to be "red flags" for many NBA teams. The Celtics medical staff, along with the front office staff were ready for the risk, and Sullinger

"They have a team that took Miami to seven games," Sullinger said of the Celtics to media in Ohio Thursday night. "You have a core like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo. To be able to go in there and learn from somebody like Kevin Garnett? It's a blessing. It's a blessing in disguise and it's only getting started."

Garnett hasn't officially stated that he's going to return for the 2012-13 season yet, but perhaps a new understudy could peak his interest a bit more. Garnett played with a chip on his shoulder all season, hearing the doubters say that he and the Celtics are too old. Sullinger, too, has reason for motivation after falling out of not just the top 10, but top 20 picks.

"Like the theme of this draft, it's ladders," Sullinger said. "It's only another ladder I have to climb. That's it, that's it. I gotta keep climbing, I gotta keep working hard, and it's a blessing man. Honestly, it's a blessing to be in the NBA."

Sullinger in a Celtics uniform never seemed like a possibility leading all the way up to last week, but there was one person who thought it was going to happen for years.

"What's scary is that high school assistant Coach Clouse five years ago -- actually seven years ago -- used to tell me I was going to the Boston Celtics," Sullinger said. "I just kept telling him 'No I'm not, no I'm not', and it happened. And what's such a blessing is I get to see him here and he was in tears, and I'm going to Boston."

Heading to Boston, Sullinger -- go ahead, call him Sully -- already has a bit of an idea of what to expect.

"It's great. Like I said you couldn't go to a better place than Boston," Sullinger said. "Great fans. I experienced a little bit of Boston when I was there playing in the NCAA Tournament, so I think it was a blessing in disguise."

And he's ready to add to that winning tradition that the Celtics organization is famous for having.

"Ready to dominate," Sullinger said. "Ready to play as hard as I can. Ready to learn as fast as I can. And ready to win. That's what it's all about; it's winning. So I'm ready to win."

Thomas strains right groin, says he'll 'be fine for Wednesday'

Thomas strains right groin, says he'll 'be fine for Wednesday'

The bumps and bruises continue to pile up for Isaiah Thomas, adding a new one to the group during Boston’s 107-106 loss at Houston. 
The 5-foot-9 guard said he strained his right groin in the second quarter, but added that the injury won’t force him to miss any games. 
“I’ll be alright,” Thomas told reporters after the loss. “I’ll get treatment. I’ll be fine for Wednesday (against Orlando).”
The injury appeared to have happened shortly after Houston’s Trevor Ariza hit a 3-pointer that put the Rockets ahead 55-45.
At the time it didn’t seem all that serious as Thomas, who had 20 points on the night, came down and drained a 3-pointer. 
But after the game, Thomas acknowledged his groin did bother him during the game in which he played 33-plus minutes. 
“A few drives I didn’t have the lift,” said Thomas, who finished with 20 points. “It is what it is. I’ll figure it out.”
Thomas, who played in all 82 regular season games last season in addition to each of Boston’s 21 games this season, has dealt with an assortment of injuries including but not limited to, a swollen middle finger injury on his left (shooting) hand. 
Thomas, an All-Star last season for the first time, has played at an elite level that should once again position him to be represent the Eastern Conference. 
Following Monday’s game, Thomas is averaging a career-high 26.0 points per game which ranks ninth in the NBA along with 6.1 assists. 

Smart: 'Can’t blame the officials for the outcome of the game'

Smart: 'Can’t blame the officials for the outcome of the game'

The fact that the James Harden of the Houston Rockets went to the free throw line 18 times which was more than the entire Celtics roster (12 free throw attempts total) certainly fired up conspiracy theorists among Celtics Nation. 
But what seemed to draw the most ire was what appeared to be a 3-pointer by Avery Bradley late in the fourth quarter that was initially called a long two-pointer. 
And after it was reviewed by the good folks in Secaucus, N.J., they allowed the ruling to stand because there wasn’t enough proof in the many replay angles for them to overturn the original call. 
The missed lay-ups by Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas in the closing seconds stand out, obviously. 
But the 3-pointer that wasn’t a 3-pointer was one of the more talked-about topics in the Celtics locker room afterwards. 
“From the angle we saw, it was a three,” Boston’s Marcus Smart told reporters after the game. “We definitely thought it was.”
Said Jae Crowder: “I thought it was a three. Nothing we can do about it now.”
It was that kind of game for the Celtics, one in which plays that could go either way more often than not, went against them. 
And while Bradley’s questionable two-pointer certainly was a factor in the game’s outcome, as was the free throw discrepancy and the late-game misses, ultimately the blame for Monday’s loss falls upon the Celtics players who were still in position to win despite all those setbacks.

They simply didn't get it done, when it mattered.
Smart, who had 13 points off the Celtics bench, understands that fans like to blame the officials when a game ends like Monday’s loss to Houston. 
“Officials, they did their job,” Smart said. “You can’t blame the officials for the outcome of the game. We made some costly plays down the stretch. Give credit to the Rockets. They made plays and executed down the stretch.”