Snubbing Sullinger


Snubbing Sullinger

If you thought losing Rajon Rondo was a tough blow for the Celtics, wait until you get a load of this

Jared Sullinger wasnt selected for this years Rising Stars Challenge.

OK, so maybe (maybe!) thats not quite as bad, but still . . . come on. If anyone on this year's Celtics deserves that kind of recognition, it's Sullinger. He's the highlight of Boston's season. And it's hard to believe there are nine rookies more worthy of the Rising Stars roster.

Hell, Sully should make it on physique alone.

The Widowmaker is serious All-Star material.

Then again, when you look at the guys who did make the cut, the snub is somewhat understandable. You've got Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Dion Waiters, Bradley Beal, Andre Drummond, Harrison Barnes, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Alexey Shved, and Tyler Zeller. All nine are playing more minutes than Sully this season, all nine are averaging more points and the three post players on the roster (Davis, Drummond and Zeller) are all averaging more rebounds as well.

If there's one point of contention, it's Zeller. The UNC product is averaging 8.3 points and 6.2 boards over 27 minutes a night for the Cavs. Meanwhile, Sullinger averages 6.1 points and 6.2 rebounds in only 20 minutes. When you factor in Sully playing in a bigger market for a better team, I think he should have made it.

But here's the good news: He'll probably make it anyways.

I mean what would All-Star weekend be without at least a handful of players dropping out with injuries? We already saw it with Rondo, and it won't end there. Chances are that at least one of these nine rookies will turn an ankle or bang a knee over the next two and a half weeks.

Not that anyone is rooting for that to happen, but it's the nature of the game. And if the Rookies are in need of a replacement, you can bet the Sullinger will get the call.

Just in time for him and the Widowmaker to head off and make All-Star history.

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Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Following Thursday’s 105-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Boston Celtics will be on the prowl to rebound – literally – from its first defeat of the season.

Because for all that did not go right in Thursday night’s loss, the way Boston was beaten on the boards stands out emphatically.

“They got 24 more shots than us. We only turned it over (12) times,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the loss. “So that’s the obvious place they’re getting their possessions, on the glass. That’s going to be the number one thing, that has been the number one thing. It’s something we’ve talked about. We have to get better at it.”


Boston was out-rebounded 55-36 on the boards which heavily factored into Chicago’s 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.

In the Celtics' 122-117 win over Brooklyn on Wednesday, Boston won the overall rebounding battle 47-44, but had just 12 offensive rebounds compared to Brooklyn's 15 offensive boards. Despite the close margin, the Nets won the battle on the offensive glass running away, outscoring the Celtics 23-13 in second-chance points.

Stevens decided to start Tyler Zeller ahead of Amir Johnson to begin the third quarter, hoping Zeller would be a better matchup on the glass than Johnson who did not grab a single rebound in the 11 minutes of court time he got in the first half.

While Zeller did do a few good things on the glass and scoring in half-court sets, it wasn’t enough to swing the momentum Chicago was steadily gaining due to its ability to control the boards.

“I wasn’t real surprised but at the same time I knew it could happen,” Zeller told reporters, referring to Stevens’ decision to have him start the second half. “They did a good job of coming out and setting the tone. They beat us up on the boards, especially the first half. It’s something we have to get better at and continue to grow at.”

And it’s not a one-player or one-position issue, either.

Usually we think of bigs when it comes to rebounding. But Boston’s guards need to step up their rebounding game as well.

The struggles thus far have to be put in the context of this being just two games, the latter being the season opener for the Bulls who were jacked up more than usual due to it being the first game for Chicago native Dwyane Wade and ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo.

“We have to focus on boxing out,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Guards have to do a better job. Guys like me, Al (Horford), Amir (Johnson), Tyler (Zeller) ... We have to do a good job of coming in the weak side and grabbing those; just focus on it, pay more attention to detail.”