Sullinger starting to deal with double teams

Sullinger starting to deal with double teams
December 2, 2013, 9:45 am
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Celtics big man Jared Sullinger is getting a bit more attention on the floor these days, and he's not the least bit happy about it.

When you start scoring and rebounding the way he has lately, teams are bound to make changes in how they defend you. That adjustment often comes in the form of double teams, the kind of change that speaks to how Sullinger has emerged as a player.

But Sullinger would much rather go back to simpler times when he'd show up, a defender would try and guard him and he would just go to work.

"It's not flattering," Sullinger said after Boston's 92-85 loss at Milwaukee on Saturday. "I remember how much I hated it at Ohio State. I can't stand double teams."

Get used to it, big fella. Boston (7-12) has won three of its last five games and Sullinger's scoring around the basket has been part of that success. In the last five games, Sullinger has averaged a near double-double of 15.2 points and 9.4 rebounds while shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 42.1 percent on threes.

Sullinger's offensive rating, 102.7, is also tops on the roster.

While the Celtics have looked to Sullinger to provide low-post scoring, he also has the ability to find teammates from the elbow or in the post a la former Celtic and current Brooklyn Nets big man Kevin Garnett.

Because he has seen his share of double teams dating all the way back to AAU ball, Sullinger learned at an early age how to use that to his advantage. He is smart enough to know that when teams double him, he has to make them pay by getting the ball into the hands of the open teammate.

Considered one of the Celtics' better passers regardless of position, it opens up another aspect of his game that has the potential to help the Celtics win games.

While Sullinger looks forward to the upcoming challenges that come with his elevated status, he pines for the good ol' days -- like a couple weeks ago -- when he would get the ball and the only thing standing between him and scoring was one defender.

"You can't flourish the way you want to," Sullinger said of dealing with double teams. "Just have to keep making that adjustment, though."