Sullinger drops 31; C's win third straight, 99-89

Sullinger drops 31; C's win third straight, 99-89
February 7, 2014, 9:45 pm
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BOSTON — The Boston Celtics are primed as a team that could use a go-to player in the future.

That player may already be on board in the form of Jared Sullinger who tallied his fourth straight double-double in leading the Celtics to a 99-89 win over Sacramento.

The second-year forward, facing one of the NBA's more promising young bigs in DeMarcus Cousins, more than held his own.

As the final horn sounded, Sullinger finished with a career-high 31 points to go with 16 rebounds.

Boston also got a strong lift off the bench from Jerryd Bayless who had seven of his 19 points off the bench in the fourth quarter.

After a close three quarters of play, Boston (18-33) opened the fourth with a 15-4 run and never looked back in extending their winning streak to three in a row.

Making the victory even more impressive was that it came without their starting backcourt of Rajon Rondo (rest) and Avery Bradley (right ankle) out.

Despite the final score, the Celtics had to work for this one.

They fell behind by as many as 10 points in the first quarter before opening the second with a 10-0 run capped off by a Kelly Olynyk jumper that put the Celtics ahead 31-29.

It was part of a strong second quarter that was fueled in large by Olynyk who had nine of his 11 points in the quarter.

Even though Boston had the lead back, they still were searching for an answer to DeMarcus Cousins.

The 6-foot-11 big man, arguably the best player not selected to this year's All-Star game, could not be stopped.

His points came on a slew of shots around the basket as he finished with a game-high tying 31 points to go with 16 rebounds which also equal to Sullinger's game-high rebounding tally.

As well as Cousins was playing for the Kings, the Celtics were getting a nice lift early on from Sullinger whose battles with Cousins date back to their days as high schoolers on the AAU scene.

Sullinger scored nine of his career-high 31 points in the first half which ended with Boston clinging to a slim 49-46 lead.

Boston's lead didn't last long as Sacramento opened the third quarter with a 6-0 spurt that put them ahead by three points.

Despite their less-than-stellar records this season, the two went back and fourth with the kind of vigor you wouldn't expect from two teams near the bottom of the standings.