WALTHAM, Mass. — Jared Sullinger was not in the best of moods Wednesday night and it had little to do with the one-game suspension he was serving.
It was the impact that the suspension was having on his Celtics teammates, who were beaten 93-87 by Toronto in large part because of the Raptors success on the boards - Sullinger's specialty.
"I was definitely cringing when I realized we weren't getting a lot of rebounds that we were supposed to get," said Sullinger whose team-imposed suspension was due to his role in a domestic violence incident that was dismissed in Waltham District Court on Monday.
Said Boston coach Brad Stevens: "I don't think there's any doubt, when Jared's not with us you take away one of our best rebounders, that's one thing. But at the same time, some of our rebounding issues were caused by the ball getting inside of our defense. We can't let it get in there that easily."
Both the Celtics and Sullinger will get a chance to rebound - literally - from the loss when the Milwaukee Bucks come to town for the home opener Friday night.
In the loss, Boston was minus-15 (48-33) on the boards which included the Raptors having a 19-7 edge on the offensive glass.
Toronto's offensive board-work led to the Raptors enjoying a 28-12 scoring cushion on second-chance points.
After watching a video replay of the game, Stevens' assessment of his team's performance was no different after having a night to sleep on it.
"We were too sloppy on both ends of the floor to win," he said. "But we had moments where we played with a lot of togetherness and intensity. Not enough times, but we had a lot of moments you can build off of."
In the Raptors loss, Boston outscored the Toronto in the first and third quarters by a combined 17 points.
Holding their own around the rim helped.
Boston was dead-even with Toronto on the boards (9-9) in the first, and were just minus-1 (8-7) in the third.
And while there's no magic formula that will change the Celtics' rebounding misfortunes, having Sullinger back in the lineup can only help.
"Rebounding is my forte; that's what I pride myself on," Sullinger said.