Celtics officially sign Pavlovic

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Celtics officially sign Pavlovic

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

WALTHAM As expected, the Boston Celtics announced Thursday the signing of Sasha Pavlovic.

Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, confirmed to CSNNE.com after Wednesday's 115-103 win over Phoenix that the Celtics had come to terms with the 6-foot-7 forward.

By adding Pavlovic, the C's now have 14 players with guaranteed contracts on the roster.

Boston also has center Chris Johnson, whose 10-day contract is set to expire this weekend.

Pavlovic participated in his first Celtics practice on Thursday.

"I'm happy to be here," Pavlovic said. "I talk to Danny Ainge. I talk to coach (Rivers). They like me be here. Whatever they ask me to do, I'm going to do it."

The 27-year-old swingman will be called upon to provide added depth at the shooting guard and small forward positions.

As far as playing time, it's unlikely that he'll garner major minutes.

But with Delonte West (right ankle) and Glen Davis (left knee) out until sometime next week, the C's will dig a little deeper into their bench for players to contribute.

That might result in opportunities for Pavlovic, who has appeared in 466 NBA games and has career averages of 5.4 points and 1.8 rebounds per game.

One of Pavlovic's strengths that's seldom talked about, is his size.

He's 6-7, but weighs about 235 pounds - about five pounds heavier than Paul Pierce.

That size combined with a decent amount of athleticism, allows Pavlovic the ability to defend players with size at the small forward or shooting guard positions.

"I think I do pretty good defensively, and I can fast break, shoot open 3s," Pavlovic said. "But like I said, I'm going to keep it simple. There's a lot of great players on this team."

The addition of Pavlovic is another player head coach Doc Rivers has to figure out how best to utilize.

"One of the things we've always liked about him, is he's a competitive defender," Rivers said. "He doesn't back down from any guys. I think he can fit in well with us. He's a skilled player as well. I think he can fit in that way as well."

The addition of Pavlovic gives the C's added depth at the shooting guard and small forward positions. He appeared in 14 games this season, 10 of which were with the Dallas Mavericks.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle told CSNNE.com that Pavlovic is "a very solid player."

In his eighth NBA season, Pavlovic has appeared in 466 career games with Utah, Cleveland, Minnesota, New Orleans and Dallas.

He is expected to be in uniform on Friday against Golden State, and said he will wear jersey number 77.

"When they called and told me what numbers are available, it wasn't too much," Pavlovic said. "So I took 77. There is no meaning to it."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

BOSTON – The trip to the TD Garden is one that Jared Sullinger has made many times but never like this. 

The former Celtic was back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent. 

“I had a feeling it was going to go that way once they signed big Al (Horford), that they were going to let me go,” Sullinger said prior to Friday’s game.  “We were prepared for it. It is what it is. I’m happy these guys are doing well.”

And he hopes to say the same for himself sometime in the future after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot – the same foot he had season-ending surgery on during the 2014-2015 season with the Celtics. 

There’s no specific timetable as to when he’ll be back on the floor, and Sullinger is cool with that plan. 

“I don’t know. They’re hiding the protocol from me so I won’t rush; we’ll see,” said Sullinger who is still in a walking boot. 

The 6-foot-9 forward played well in the preseason and solidified himself as the team’s starting power forward. 

Now that he’s out with another injury, he’ll have to once again try and prove himself either later this season when he returns, or this summer when he becomes a free agent again.

For now, Sullinger is happy to be back in town, seeing lots of familiar faces, friends and ex-teammates that he says he still keeps in close contact with. 

“Some of these guys I considered like brothers to me,” Sullinger said. “IT (Isaiah Thomas), Jae Crowder to name a few. So I watch from a distance, I support from a distance. They’re playing well.”

In addition to his former teammates, the lines of communication remained open between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well. 

Stevens said the two exchanged text messages right before he had foot surgery, and afterwards. 

“Obviously, everyone here wishes a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back on the court soon,” Stevens said. 

Sullinger has been an effective player during his time in the NBA, with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. 

But this will be the third time in his five NBA seasons that he will miss a significant amount of time on the court due to an injury or recovering from an injury. 

Stevens acknowledged that he feels for Sullinger who once again has to go through rehabilitation in order to get back on the floor.

“I like Jared a lot,” Stevens said. “He’s a heck of a player, he’s a really smart guy. Got a lot of respect for him and it stinks that he’s got to go through that but he’ll come back strong I’m sure.”

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics have no answer for Lowry

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics have no answer for Lowry

BOSTON — For most of Friday night’s game, the Boston Celtics played the kind of game that on most nights would result in a victory. 

But Toronto is one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference with talent, depth and an undeniable desire to win at all costs. 

One strong quarter by the Raptors was just enough to put away the Celtics, 101-94. 

And it came in the third when Toronto outscored Boston 33-18 which turned out to be the only quarter the Raptors (16-7) outscored the Celtics. 

“They got hot; made some tough shots,” said Boston’s Marcus Smart. “The tough shots kind of hurt us.”

The tough shots and a flawless 8-for-8 performance from the free throw line. 

While it’s a 48-minute game, there was no getting around the fact that it was Toronto’s dominance in the third that ultimately determined the game’s outcome. 

“If you look at it from our perspective it’s what went wrong; if you look at it from theirs, they ratcheted up the defense quite a bit (in the third quarter),” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “It was hard for us to break their … break their wall of defense.”

In the third quarter, Boston shot just 27.8 percent from the field, 30 percent (3-for-10) on 3’s and a woeful 5-for-10 from the free throw line. 

“We started making everything difficult for them and not letting them get that easy in and try to take advantage of that,” said Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Friday night’s game.

 

STARS

Kyle Lowry

The Celtics had no answer for the All-Star point guard who led all players with 34 points, 21 of which came in the second half. 

Avery Bradley

Bradley was the lone Celtics starter who seemed to be in a good shooting flow, tallying 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting which included five made 3’s. 

DeMar DeRozan

The Celtics made him work a lot harder than he usually does to score, but he still managed to tally 24 points – just four points below his season average – on 9-for-25 shooting.

 

STUDS

Al Horford

He made a few more turnovers than usual, but Horford still put together a relatively balanced performance. He had 19 points and seven rebounds with six assists and a blocked shot. 

Norman Powell

The X-factor in Friday’s outcome had to be Powell. A 5.8 points per game scorer this season, Powell had 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting along with a game-high five steals. 

 

DUDS

Jae Crowder

With Isaiah Thomas (right groin) out, the Celtics really needed its core starters to step up and have a productive night offensively. Crowder just didn’t have it going on Friday, scoring just seven points on 2-for-11 shooting which included a number of 3s that rimmed in and out on him.