Veteran Celtics toughen up Sixers' Turner

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Veteran Celtics toughen up Sixers' Turner

Evan Turner grew up watching Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce play basketball.

He was a fan of the trio, each of whom are more than 10 years his senior. If he had attended public school, Turner would have went to Garnetts alma mater, Farragut Academy, in Chicago.

When Turner played against the Boston Celtics last season as a 22-year-old rookie on the Philadelphia 76ers, he was already familiar with his opponents from what he had seen of them on TV.

Then the veterans introduced him to their game in the NBA. They tested the young guard during his first year in the NBA, a challenge he appreciates now.

Watching them on TV and playing against them is two different things, Turner told CSNNE.com. First few times we played against them, they kicked our butts. One of the best things is getting your butts kicked and paying your dues. I cant say it enough -- paying your dues and earning the right to play well and earning the right to play well versus them, thats the most important thing.

The Celtics took the 2010-11 regular season series against the 76ers, 3-1. One year later, they are faced off in a Eastern Conference Semifinals series tied at one apiece.

After averaging 8.3 points and 2.3 rebounds against the C's as a rookie, Turner is posting 13.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in the first two games of the series.

Rebounding is all about desire, he said. If you want to go get it, you go get it. Thats pretty much it. Thats how I was always taught. I dont look at it any other way. I just look at as they expect me to rebound and I want to go get the ball, Ill go get it in any situation.

Turners defense, combined with his ability to hit difficult shots thus far, has helped push the Sixers, who are headed back to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4 on their home court. The first two games of the series have been decided by one point each, the type of challenge Turner is up for.

Unlike other young players who have griped about the Celtics intense style of play over the years, he is taking it in and learning from it.

One thing about them is, theyre going to play tough, especially in playoff time, Turner said. Growing up, you could tell they played tough, theyre willing to put their chin in there to get a stop, and thats toughness. Thats what you learn, especially when theyre guarding you, you can tell how tough they are.

Even after beating the Celtics twice this regular season and taking Game 2 in the playoffs, remembering how he felt last season during the Cs victories will help Turner during this postseason, and moving forward in his career.

They enjoyed it, thats what was crazy, Turner said of the Celtics winning. Last season, they just enjoyed it. They kept coming back at you. Paul gets going, he starts talking. Same with Ray and everything. They were taking turns on you, seeing how tough you were. You had to toughen up. The whole thing with them was seeing how tough you were. And if not, they were going to run right over you.

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

BOSTON – The trip to the TD Garden is one that Jared Sullinger has made many times but never like this. 

The former Celtic was back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent. 

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“I had a feeling it was going to go that way once they signed big Al (Horford), that they were going to let me go,” Sullinger said prior to Friday’s game.  “We were prepared for it. It is what it is. I’m happy these guys are doing well.”

And he hopes to say the same for himself sometime in the future after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot – the same foot he had season-ending surgery on during the 2014-2015 season with the Celtics. 

There’s no specific timetable as to when he’ll be back on the floor, and Sullinger is cool with that plan. 

“I don’t know. They’re hiding the protocol from me so I won’t rush; we’ll see,” said Sullinger who is still in a walking boot. 

The 6-foot-9 forward played well in the preseason and solidified himself as the team’s starting power forward. 

Now that he’s out with another injury, he’ll have to once again try and prove himself either later this season when he returns, or this summer when he becomes a free agent again.

For now, Sullinger is happy to be back in town, seeing lots of familiar faces, friends and ex-teammates that he says he still keeps in close contact with. 

“Some of these guys I considered like brothers to me,” Sullinger said. “IT (Isaiah Thomas), Jae Crowder to name a few. So I watch from a distance, I support from a distance. They’re playing well.”

In addition to his former teammates, the lines of communication remained open between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well. 

Stevens said the two exchanged text messages right before he had foot surgery, and afterwards. 

“Obviously, everyone here wishes a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back on the court soon,” Stevens said. 

Sullinger has been an effective player during his time in the NBA, with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. 

But this will be the third time in his five NBA seasons that he will miss a significant amount of time on the court due to an injury or recovering from an injury. 

Stevens acknowledged that he feels for Sullinger who once again has to go through rehabilitation in order to get back on the floor.

“I like Jared a lot,” Stevens said. “He’s a heck of a player, he’s a really smart guy. Got a lot of respect for him and it stinks that he’s got to go through that but he’ll come back strong I’m sure.”