BOSTON — As Jared Sullinger sat in his locker stall following Boston's 106-103 win, you couldn't help but notice - OK, I totally stared - at the golf ball-sized lump on his left ankle.
Despite the pain and discomfort, Sullinger still trudged along in a tightly played game against Charlotte.
"You gotta play through it," Sullinger said. "That's all you have to do, just play through it and fight it out."
And he did just that, coming up with one big play after another in the fourth quarter in helping the Celtics snap a nine-game losing streak with a 106-103 win over the Charlotte Bobcats.
Sullinger had 20 points for the Celtics, nine of which came in the fourth quarter.
The injury occurred in the third quarter when Sullinger slipped on a wet spot. Head coach Brad Stevens took him out at the 6:45 mark with the Celtics ahead 68-67.
He did not return until the 7:57 mark and Boston ahead by nine points. But even before Sullinger returned, the Bobcats were starting to chip away from the Celtics lead which peaked at 13 just 73 seconds prior to Sullinger's return.
After the injury, Sullinger said the team doctors gave him the option of calling it a night.
Sullinger wasn't having that, not on a night when the Celtics were without Rajon Rondo (shin) and were so close - again - to winning.
"Some of it's adrenaline and some of it is just being a Sullinger," Jared said. "You don't really quit. Dr. (Brian) McKeon was like, 'just call it a night.' I was like, 'no. I have to play in this game.' There was just something about it."
Well the Celtics are certainly happy he decided to play through the pain, providing a much-needed boost in the fourth quarter that propelled Boston to victory.
"When was the last win?" asked Celtics big Kris Humphries. "You put a lot into it. It's really frustrating to lose at the end of games. We dodged a couple bullets at the end today. Sometimes you gotta get lucky. Over time, I think we'll figure out how to play better at the end of games."
And with that, here's the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from Boston's win which snapped a five-game winning streak by the Bobcats.
You certainly love Pressey's 10 points and 13 assists to go with five rebounds, but the intangible plays like diving for loose balls or tip-outs to teammates was a huge difference-maker in Friday's win.
He continues to play whatever role he is asked to perform, at a relatively high level. Bass provided a little bit of everything against the Bobcats. Bass finished with 18 points, a team-high nine rebounds and three assists. He also had two of Boston's three blocked shots.
Yes, the Celtics got some stops down the stretch to get the victory. But the Bobcats had their way most of the night with one good look after another at the basket. This was a game in which the Celtics shot their way to victory, connecting on 51.9 percent of their shots. Meanwhile, the Bobcats made a respectable 50.6 percent of their shots which is too high a percentage for the Celtics defense to allow.
The Celtics continue to cough up the ball at an alarming rate that makes nights like Friday's victory such a rare occurrence. Boston turned the ball over 20 times against Charlotte, resulting in 23 points.