Buckeye bond for Sullinger and Turner

920993.jpg

Buckeye bond for Sullinger and Turner

BOSTON -- J.J. Sullinger became like an older brother to Evan Turner when he entered Ohio State University. In turn, Turner developed the same kind of relationship with J.J.'s younger sibling, Jared. Five years later, the former Buckeyes are seeing their bond play out on the NBA court.

Turner met Jared when they were 18 and 15. The Illinois native joined the Ohio State basketball team in 2007, and J.J., who graduated the previous year, took him under his wing. Through Turner's time around the Sullinger family, he took on the big brother role with Jared that J.J. had with him. He enjoyed the combination of Jared's fierce competitiveness and laidback attitude, mixed in with a feisty sense of humor that often included instigating a joke or prank.

"I was always in Columbus Ohio, so I would always go to his game, hang out with the Sully's. They were like fam," Turner told CSNNE.com prior to Sunday's Celtics-Sixers preseason game. "I would go to Jared's games, pick him up, go to the movies back in high school."

Jared was a standout at Northland High School, a team he would lead to a 21-0 record in his senior year. Turner noticed he had a strong physical presence and an even stronger knowledge of the game.

"One thing I've always said about Jared is, he's smart," said Turner. "His IQ is unreal. He was so far ahead of all the big men due to the simple fact that he just knew how to play and use his body."

Turner saw this skill in action when Jared joined a group of OSU players and alumni for a game over the summer. 2007 first overall draft pick Greg Oden had finished his rookie season in the NBA, and Jared paid no attention to the seven-footer's accomplishments.

"I saw him go up against Greg Oden when he was 16 or 17," Turner recalled. "He was destroying Greg Oden, holding his own against him because he knew how to play."

Turner left Ohio State after his junior year and entered the 2010 NBA Draft, where the Philadelphia 76er selected him with the second pick. Even though some worried how the Buckeyes would make up for Turner's 15 points, seven rebounds, and four assists per game, the guard knew his alma matter would be in good hands.

"I told them Jared's going to come in and average 18 and 10, and he did," said Turner. "I already knew he was going to be a big talent player."

Unlike Turner, Jared fell out of the lottery in the NBA Draft. This summer the Celtics selected him with the 21st pick. He has already earned himself significant preseason minutes at only 20 years old on a veteran team. Turner faced him twice in preseason action and says nothing has changed about Sullinger in a good way.

"One thing smart about him is, he's still the same person," said Turner. "People try to go to the league and change their game. He knows how to rebound, he knows how to play, and he's humble enough to take orders and take advice from the veterans that he has. He's got everything going for him now and he's going to have a big, big year."

Celtics-Cavaliers preview: Game 5 is about respect for Boston

Celtics-Cavaliers preview: Game 5 is about respect for Boston

BOSTON – From the outset of this season, the Boston Celtics were swimming upstream when it came to getting respect. 

No matter how many wins they racked up, no matter how many upsets they managed to pull off, they were never going to do enough to satisfy the court of public opinion which wanted one thing and one thing only from the NBA: A third installment of Golden State against Cleveland in the NBA Finals. 

The Warriors did their part by running through the West with 12 wins in as many playoff games. 

Meanwhile, the Celtics will try to not just stave off elimination tonight, but continue to delay what so many believe is an inevitable Golden State-Cleveland Final.

Boston’s Al Horford understands that while the league this season has seen lots of individual success as well as teams that have overachieved, the thirst for Golden State versus Cleveland remains stronger than ever. 

“We understand that’s what everyone has been talking about since the beginning of the season,” Horford said. “For us it’s just to focus … and play the Celtic way. And just come out here and fight and we’ll take it from there.”

The Celtics did that in Game 3 with Avery Bradley delivering one of the more memorable shots in the Brad Stevens era, a game-winning three-pointer that hit the rim four times before falling with 0.1 seconds to play as Boston squeaked out a 111-108 win.

Boston did a lot of good things in Game 4 and seemingly went into the half sensing that maybe just maybe they would even up the series at two games heading back to Boston for tonight’s Game 5 matchup. 

But Kyrie Irving picked up the slack for a foul-plagued LeBron James, lifting the Cavaliers to a 112-99 win which puts them now just a win away from advancing to the NBA Finals. 

Not only have folks both in the media as well as fans who have rooted for this series to be over, even merchandise sellers like Dick Sporting Goods have anticipated this series as already being over.

“It is what it is,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “It’s been like that all year; a lot of guys counting us out. At the same time, we’re trying to put ourselves in position to win each and every game.”

While that has been the goal, it certainly hasn’t worked out that way in this series. 

Despite Games 1 and 2 being at the TD Garden, the Celtics lost both games by a total of 57 points. 

And while they won Game 3 and had the Cavaliers on the ropes in Game 4 before losing, they know their chance to play NBA Finals spoiler is just about up. 

“We know that’s the Finals that everybody wants to talk about, what everybody is looking forward to,” said Boston’s Marcus Smart. “We understand it. But we work just as hard as these guys. We just have to keep going out there and working. We’re not going to give it to them, and stuff like that. We just have to make it tough on them.”