Not his best, but still a double-double for Sullinger

Not his best, but still a double-double for Sullinger
January 30, 2014, 1:15 am
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Jared Sullinger will join Celtics teammate Kelly Olynyk on "Team Webber" on All-Star Weekend.

(USA Today Sports Images)

BOSTON — The final line for Jared Sullinger - 24 points, 17 rebounds - doesn't begin to tell the story of his play in Boston's 95-94 loss to Philadelphia.

It was his team-leading 13th double-double this season, but both he and Celtics coach Brad Stevens knew it wasn't one of his best performances.

Sullinger's rebounding prowess is unmistakeable. Still, on nights when he's scoring, he has to balance that rebounding with an efficient offensive game.

And efficient, he was not.

The 24 points scored came on 9-for-25 shooting from the field.

He didn't shoot the ball well," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens who added, "I thought he was a warrior the whole night."

Sullinger's father Satch Sullinger was in town from Columbus, Ohio. He has watched his son play through sprained ligaments in his right hand and a dislocated left index finger, with barely a grumble or gripe about it.

He too has been pleased with the warrior-like play of his son, but didn't feel telling him on the phone would suffice.

"So I drove 12 hours and told him, face-to-face, 'son, you're a warrior!" Sullinger told CSNNE.com.

But Jared isn't looking for compliments, praise for his play or sympathy for his injuries right now.

His focus on Wednesday night was no different than it has been throughout this grueling month of January, in which the Celtics have lost 15 of 17 games.

Sullinger loves how his teammates have been able to sustain a relatively upbeat demeanor all things considered, and how they've managed to give themselves a chance to win more nights than not.

Still, Sullinger said, "we just got to win some."

The Celtics will have a better chance at that as injured players slowly return to good health, such as Avery Bradley (ankle), who Stevens said should be able to play on Sunday against the Orlando Magic.

And then there's Sullinger who could benefit health-wise from having three days without games to play.

Stevens is convinced Sullinger's injured hands are at the core of why he has struggled of late shooting the ball.

"He'll make more of those once he gets healthy," Stevens said.