Sullinger 'ready to dominate' in Celtics uniform

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Sullinger 'ready to dominate' in Celtics uniform

Jared Sullinger knows what he's getting himself into after being selected by the Boston Celtics -- and he couldn't be happier.

Sullinger was drafted with the 21st overall pick by Boston Thursday night, slipping to them after bulging disks in his back proved to be "red flags" for many NBA teams. The Celtics medical staff, along with the front office staff were ready for the risk, and Sullinger

"They have a team that took Miami to seven games," Sullinger said of the Celtics to media in Ohio Thursday night. "You have a core like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo. To be able to go in there and learn from somebody like Kevin Garnett? It's a blessing. It's a blessing in disguise and it's only getting started."

Garnett hasn't officially stated that he's going to return for the 2012-13 season yet, but perhaps a new understudy could peak his interest a bit more. Garnett played with a chip on his shoulder all season, hearing the doubters say that he and the Celtics are too old. Sullinger, too, has reason for motivation after falling out of not just the top 10, but top 20 picks.

"Like the theme of this draft, it's ladders," Sullinger said. "It's only another ladder I have to climb. That's it, that's it. I gotta keep climbing, I gotta keep working hard, and it's a blessing man. Honestly, it's a blessing to be in the NBA."

Sullinger in a Celtics uniform never seemed like a possibility leading all the way up to last week, but there was one person who thought it was going to happen for years.

"What's scary is that high school assistant Coach Clouse five years ago -- actually seven years ago -- used to tell me I was going to the Boston Celtics," Sullinger said. "I just kept telling him 'No I'm not, no I'm not', and it happened. And what's such a blessing is I get to see him here and he was in tears, and I'm going to Boston."

Heading to Boston, Sullinger -- go ahead, call him Sully -- already has a bit of an idea of what to expect.

"It's great. Like I said you couldn't go to a better place than Boston," Sullinger said. "Great fans. I experienced a little bit of Boston when I was there playing in the NCAA Tournament, so I think it was a blessing in disguise."

And he's ready to add to that winning tradition that the Celtics organization is famous for having.

"Ready to dominate," Sullinger said. "Ready to play as hard as I can. Ready to learn as fast as I can. And ready to win. That's what it's all about; it's winning. So I'm ready to win."

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All-Stars, studs and duds: Westbrook's reign as MVP comes to an end

All-Stars, studs and duds: Westbrook's reign as MVP comes to an end

NEW ORLEANS – You don’t rack up triple doubles at a historically ridiculous rate the way Russell Westbrook does without being able to dish out an assist from time to time.

The biggest assist he made in the 66th annual NBA all-star didn’t make its way on to the stats sheet.

But it was historical in so many ways.

Westbrook’s advice to Anthony Davis on how to win the game’s MVP award was indeed taken to heart with Davis winning the award following the Western Conference’s 192-182 win over the East All-Stars.

Davis finished with a game-high 52 points, shattering the previous mark set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.

Davis won the MVP award after Westbrook had won it each of the two previous All-Star games.

Prior to the game, Davis said he did do a little lobbying among his fellow all-stars in the locker room.

“I stressed that, I think more than enough, to the guys in the locker room before the game that I wanted to get the MVP for this crowd, for this city, and I ended up doing it.”

Following the game, Westbrook acknowledged that he did speak with Davis about how to win the MVP award.

When asked about what he said, Westbrook replied, “I’m not going to tell you, but he did a good job and got it done.”

Despite not winning the MVP award, Westbrook had a dominant game of his own as he tallied 41 points which was one point shy of the previous record.

But after the game, it was clear that he was more pleased with the performance of Davis.

“It was great,” Westbrook said. “It’s definitely always a great thing to do, especially here where he plays in front of his fans, his family. It’s a great experience and definitely happy for him.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the 66th annual NBA all-star game.

 

STARS

Anthony Davis

The hometown team’s best player delivered a scoring night for the ages, finishing with an All-Star record 52 points on 26-for-39 shooting to go with 10 rebounds. The previous record of 42 points was set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.

Russell Westbrook

His All-Star reign as the game’s MVP came to an end after having won the award the previous two All-Star games. He finished with 41 points.

 

STUDS

Giannis Antetokounmpo

He was an above-the-rim monster, scoring 30 points primarily on a dozen dunks.

Kevin Durant

He was filling up the stat sheet in several categories for the West, finishing with a triple-double of 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Kyrie Irving

Arguably the best performer for the East, Irving had 22 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds.

Isaiah Thomas

There were others who had a more prolific night shooting the ball, but Thomas’ impact off the bench was indeed felt. He led all East reserves with 20 points.

James Harden

The bearded one had a triple-double as well, although not the kind he would prefer. Along with scoring 12 points, and dishing out 12 assists, Harden also racked up a game-high 10 turnovers.

 

DUDS

None

There were some guys who didn’t do much statistically, but with this being such an exhibition-like event, putting too much stock in any player’s performance is a waste of time. They are among the top 24 or so players in the NBA. No amount of missed shots or turnovers will change that fact.