Bruins

No more Mr. Nice Guy: Sullinger shows nasty side on court

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No more Mr. Nice Guy: Sullinger shows nasty side on court

WALTHAM Jared Sullinger is one of the more happy-go-lucky guys you'll find in the NBA.

He answers reporters' questions. He makes sure his veteran teammates have whatever it is they need. He takes Doc Rivers' chiding him to play better with the same level-headed demeanor when Rivers is praising him.

But beyond the nice-guy demeanor is a fiesty, physical banger that doesn't mind showing his nasty side on the floor.

"You don't bring the nice guy on to the floor," said Boston's Kevin Garnett. "That's not going to get you anywhere. He understands that."

The nasty side of Sullinger has led to some pretty nice play for the Celtics who come into Friday's game against Houston riding a four-game winning streak.

And Sullinger's play has been instrumental in that run, a run that includes him tallying a career-high 16 rebounds in Boston's win over Phoenix on Wednesday.

"I always had that," Sullinger said. "I'm always aggressive especially when it comes to rebounding. That's just been me since an early age."

He added, "in between the lines I'm a little nasty."

And his teammates absolutely love the balancing act, one that many of them - Garnett included - can relate to.

Like Sullinger, those close to Garnett say the intense, menacing figure you see in games isn't anything like the eloquent, jovial, fun-loving Garnett they see off the court.

"A lot of things he wants to be in the league, I've attained some of them," Garnett said. "So I just try to give him that experience. He asks a lot of questions about ... various topics to be honest; and I share them. A lot of guys don't really open up themselves or share those experiences or stories, etc. And I try to do that."

Garnett added, "Jared's a good guy. He's a guy you want your daughter to bring home. Not saying he doesn't have a mean streak in him. We have a connection and it works."

Especially when you consider that Sullinger (plus-68) and Garnett (plus-43) have the two highest plus-minus ratios on the C's roster this season.

Sullinger attributes some of his nastiness to getting roughed up at times by older siblings.

The 6-foot-9 forward recalled a time when he was much younger and he was playing with his siblings and went up for a lay-up.

"I went up for a lay-up and Julian just pushed me into a pole," Sullinger said.

Bleeding at the time, Jared said he ran home.

"I'm crying to my mom and she said go see your father," Sullinger recalled.

After a brief conversation, Sullinger said his mom cleaned him up, patted him on the back and told him to go back out and play.

It was a tough love moment, one that Sullinger cherishes.

He learned first-hand the value in pulling yourself back up when you literally get knocked down, and keep playing.

That has translated into him being a tireless worker on the boards for the Celtics this season, a player who seems to make those around him better whenever he's on the floor.

As much as Avery Bradley has been credited with Boston's turnaround, there's no way to ignore the fact that Sullinger is seeing more playing time during this current run, either.

This season, Sullinger is averaging 5.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game while playing 18.7 minutes per game. During the C's current four-game winning streak he's up to 9.3 points, 12.5 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field in 26.8 minutes per game.

"He's very poised," Garnett said of Sullinger. "You're not going to get under his skin; you're not going to rush him. And just when you think he's backing down, he's in your face."

Bruins blow three-goal lead, lose to Sabres in OT, 5-4

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Bruins blow three-goal lead, lose to Sabres in OT, 5-4

BOSTON – The Bruins had things set up for a solid win against an Atlantic Division doormat on Saturday night, but then they went and blew a three-goal second period lead and a two-goal third period lead en route to a deflating loss. 

Ryan O’Reilly scored during a wild scramble around the Boston net in the 3-on-3 overtime and the Bruins dropped a 5-4 overtime decision to Buffalo at TD Garden. So now the Bruins have lost to two of last year’s worst teams in the league, Colorado and Buffalo, and an expansion team within the first seven games of the season. 

The Bruins were all over the Sabres in the first period squeezing off 13 shots on net, and getting goals from David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand to get things going. The Pastrnak score was a clean-up job at the front of the net after Tim Schaller had crashed the net with the puck, and Marchand scored a goal just two seconds into a PP possession after Marco Scandella coughed a puck up right in front of the Buffalo net. 

Marchand struck again on the first shift of the second period when he snapped home a backhanded drop pass from Anders Bjork, and then Jason Pominville and Pastrnak traded scores to give the Bruins a comfortable three-goal lead. Chelmsford’s own Jack Eichel scored on the rebound of a Scandella shot to make it a two-goal game going into the final period of play, and Benoit Pouliot potted his first goal with the Sabres to make it really close down the stretch. 

Anton Khudobin and the Bruins tried to hold strong in the closing minutes of the third, but couldn’t overcome a shaky interference call on Brandon Carlo that ultimately led to a game-tying Evander Kane score after the PP had expired.