Celtics

Sullinger willing to give up his shot to help Celtics

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Sullinger willing to give up his shot to help Celtics

Jared Sullinger knows how to be a dominating scorer. He also knows his role is about to change this season.
While some rookies enter their first year determined to establish themselves as an offensive presence, the Boston Celtics forward is prepared to make the necessary adjustments to fit into the teams system.
As long as we get a number put on to the left side instead of the right side, Im going to be happy, Sullinger told CSNNE.com in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
After getting his first taste of the NBA in the Orlando and Las Vegas Summer Leagues last month, where he averaged over 12 points per game, Sullinger has returned home to Ohio. He felt he rushed some of his shots and is working toward getting acclimated to the speed of the NBA game. The 20 year old is applying the feedback received to his training before the start of the season.
The coaches just said I played really well and there certain things Ive got to get better at, Sullinger said. Pick-and-roll defense, understanding the offense a little more, understanding that theres a lot Im not going to be getting due to having Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Rajon Rondo out there on the floor, and obviously Jason Terry. Theres a lot of shots I wont be normally taking, so Ive got to get used to it ASAP.
As a rookie on a veteran squad, Sullinger is ready to embrace his place among his teammates and contribute wherever he can. A dedicated rebounder (he averaged 10.2 boards per game last season), Sullinger is looking forward to crashing the boards and helping the team with second-chance points.
The Celtics are looking forward to him doing that as well. They finished last in the league in rebounding last season.
Ive got to find other opportunities to score, said Sullinger. Like I tell everybody, rebounding is one of my strong suits of basketball. Ive got to get ready for rebounding. Hopefully you dont miss a lot, but if you do, hopefully Im there to clean it up.
Sullinger has been working out at his alma mater in preparation for his rookie year. After playing basketball for nearly a year straight, he is currently taking active rest to benefit his body for the upcoming season. An NBA season is significantly longer than one in the NCAA.
When I say active rest, Im resting my body but Im still working out, but not nearly as hard as I was getting ready for the draft, he explained. I decided because Ive been going for a year straight now, non-stop. Last year at this time, I was working out with Ohio State. I took four days off after my season of college basketball and started getting ready for the draft. Im playing with the guys at Ohio State. Im working out doing spot shooting, pick-and-pop shooting, but instead of going for like two-and-a-half hours, Im only going for an hour. Im still lifting three times a week.
While back home, Sullinger, who left college after his sophomore year, has also been continuing his education in pursuit of a sports management degree, a promise he made to his mother. He took an online course at The Ohio State University and plans to pick up again next offseason.
Once he receives the call that it is time to leave for Boston, he will pick up and make the move to his new city. Although Sullinger was not a member of the 2011-12 squad that lost to the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, he is bringing a sense of determination to help the Celtics make it even further this season.
We just want to win, he said. Our main goal is winning. Losing to the Miami Heat kind of put a damper on Boston. Like I always say, coming in second in that city is basically coming in last. They dont tolerate losing, so hopefully well win something.
High on Sullingers must-see list once he arrives in Boston is the TD Garden. He doesnt want to check out the parquet or scope out the locker room. Sullinger wants to get a glimpse of the banners.
Last season the Buckeyes played at the TD Garden for the NCAA Tournament, but the banners were removed from the rafters during the college games. Sullinger is hungry to see the symbols of victory in person.
Im really looking forward to seeing the colorful green and white banners and all the retired jerseys, he said. Every home game that we play, I can always look up there and know that every last person that won a championship here, every last person that got their number retired here gave it their all, and its the best franchise in the history of franchises. Its kind of like a reminder of banner 18 needs to come soon.
Sullinger is willing to accept whatever role he is given on his new team to help make that happen.

For Celtics, winning streak is history in the making

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For Celtics, winning streak is history in the making

BOSTON – Beating the Atlanta Hawks 110-99 on Saturday did more than just pad the win total for the Boston Celtics.
 
It moved them even further up the food chain to what has already been a pretty amazing season.
 
Saturday’s win was their 15th straight, which places them in the penthouse of great Celtics runs of success.
 
Only four other teams in this franchise's storied history have won more consecutive games than this year’s group.
 
Here at NBC Sports Boston, we take a look back at the four teams that are ahead of the Celtics in what has been one of the greatest streaks in franchise history.


 
19 straight wins:  Nov. 15, 2008 – Dec. 23, 2008
 
Fresh off claiming Banner 17, the Celtics were determined to take their place among the all-time great Celtics teams by winning a second straight NBA title. They seemed well on their way with a 15-2 start to the season and of course, their 19-game winning streak. But what turned into a season-ending knee injury suffered by Kevin Garnett later in the year derailed their date with destiny and instead ended with them being upset by the Orlando Magic in the second round of the playoffs , brining a quicker-than-expected end to one of the best regular seasons in franchise history.


 
18 straight wins: Feb. 24, 1982 – March 26, 1982
 
Boston was still considered the best team in the East, although Julius Erving and the Philadelphia 76ers were very much closing the gap. The Celtics dodged a number of close calls during the streak with seven games decided by five points or less, including a 98-97 overtime win at Washington in which the Bullets (now Wizards) went into the fourth quarter with a nine-point lead. The Celtics’ streak eventually came to an end at the hands of the Sixers, which, in hindsight, served as a precursor for Boston losing to Dr. J and the Sixers in the playoffs.


 
17 straight wins: Nov. 28, 1959 – Dec. 30, 1959
 
The Celtics were defending NBA champions and seemingly off to a strong start, only to lose back-to-back games to Philadelphia. While it was still early in the season, they knew they had to quickly right the ship. And they did. During the 17-game winning streak, 12 were by double-digits with only three by five points. The streak ended on New Year’s Day 1960. But by then, the Celtics had re-established their presence atop the NBA landscape and would go on to claim the second of eight straight NBA titles.


 
16 straight wins: Dec. 19, 1964 – Jan. 22, 1965
 
There was little doubt in anyone’s mind that this Celtic team was going to have a special season. They got things going with an 11-0 record right out the gate. And they weren’t just winning games; they were thumping teams with flat-out beatdowns, which is evident by their average margin of victory being by 18.5 points per game. That’s not all that surprising when you consider most of Boston’s core group consisted of players in their prime such as Bill Russell and Tommy Heinsohn. The streak began with a double-digit win over the St. Louis Hawks and would roll along for another couple of weeks. During both the start of the season and the 16-game winning streak, both cemented Boston as the team everyone was chasing. And no one caught them. The Celtics continued to be the dominant force in the league and the season ended with another title, which was the franchise’s seventh straight.

Celtics need to let Morris continue feasting on seconds

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Celtics need to let Morris continue feasting on seconds

It gets harder to find problematic areas when a team wins 15 straight, like the Boston Celtics have.
 
But there are some. Boston’s inability to develop a consistent scoring threat when the second-unit players are on the floor hasn’t cost them a game yet, but you can see it coming if they don’t address this at some point.
 
Well, the answer to their second-unit struggles may be staring them right in the face – Marcus Morris.
 
While he does go back and forth as a starter, keeping him on the floor in the second quarter with the second unit makes sense for all involved.
 
Morris is a better scorer than many expected, but opportunities aren’t as plentiful with the first group. Kyrie Irving and Al Horford are the top two options. The team’s young wings, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, probably stack up slightly higher in the scoring pecking order than Morris.
 
So for him to get quality looks with the second unit in the second quarter not only helps the team offensively, but it keeps Morris even more engaged than he already is.
 
We saw that in Saturday’s win over the Hawks.
 
Morris had 14 points, with 10 coming in the second quarter when he was surrounded primarily with players off the bench.
 
 “We need Marcus quite a bit,” said coach Brad Stevens. “We’re still managing his minutes appropriately as he comes back.”
 
Morris missed the first eight games of the season because of a sore left knee. Since his return, his minutes have been capped at around 25 or less, in addition to not playing back-to-back nights..

But as he continues to play a more significant role, look for his minutes -- and his role as a primary scorer in the second quarter -- to increase.
 
“He brings us scoring," Stevens said. "He brings us defense, he brings us toughness, and we really needed his scoring (against Atlanta), his ability to shoot the ball both off broken plays and off movement.”
 
Here’s a look at five other takeaways from Boston’s 110-99 win at Atlanta to extend the team’s winning streak to 15 in a row which is the fifth-longest streak in franchise history.



 
JAYLEN BROWN'S EMERGENCE

The improvement in Jaylen Brown has been evident all season, but it's really spiked the last two games. The second-year wing player dropped 22 points on Golden State Thursday, then followed that up with a career-high 27 Saturday. Conventional wisdom tells you not to bank on Brown delivering like that on a consistent basis. But as a former No. 3 overall pick who works as hard as Brown does . . . would anyone be surprised if this becomes a new-norm when it comes to Brown?


 
HORFORD STREAK CONTINUES
 
Early foul trouble and an overall lack of flow offensively had Al Horford looking at having his first game of the season with a negative plus/minus. At the half he was at -16. Then came the Celtics’ second half surge which saw them turn a 16-point deficit in the first half into a double-digit victory. And Horford’s plus/minus? For the game he stood at +2, keeping his streak alive of having a positive plus/minus in every game played this season.

KYRIE IRVING
 
An efficient scoring Kyrie Irving is an NBA team’s worst nightmare. One of the league’s well-established scorers, Irving was just too much for the Atlanta Hawks to handle. And the end result was one of the most efficient scoring nights in Irving’s career as he tallied a game-high 30 points on 10-for-12 shooting.


 
TATUM'S SECOND-HALF SURGE
 
For the second straight game, Jayson Tatum did not begin playing his best basketball until the second half. Against the Hawks, Tatum scored all of his 14 points in the second half. And in Thursday’s win over Golden State, 10 of his 12 points came in the second half. “For whatever reason he was pretty tentative (in the first half),” said Stevens. “He’s a good player, so struggles aren’t going to last long. He’ll figure it out.”


 
SMART'S SHOOTING (SLIGHTLY) BETTER
 
There’s plenty of room for improvement when it comes to Marcus Smart’s shooting. Against the Hawks, he had 10 points on 3-for-8 shooting. Now the numbers won’t wow you, but they are a huge step in the right direction in comparison to how he has been chucking up shots lately. In Boston’s previous five games, Smart was a face-cringing 10-for-52 shooting, or 19.2 percent from the field. Even with all the impact he makes consistently with his defense and effort, that number has to continue to improve if Boston is able to continue along its winning ways.

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