Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“I actually leave very encouraged, and the reason why is I thought we played really physical,” said Stevens. “And I think they’re very physical and they’re really aggressive. We didn’t make some chippies there at the rim, but those things don’t really weigh on me all that much. I leave encouraged.”
[...] “They’ve had their struggles, but that’s not a 13-18 team,” said the coach of the now 13-19 Celts. “And as they (get) fully healthy, they’ll continue to have success because they execute on both ends of the floor as well as anybody in the league.
“We didn’t make shots, but they had a large role in that. I’m a big believer that if you’re physical and you’re tough and you’re aggressive, then even the open ones don’t feel right. That’s kind of the way we had tonight with our shooting. But otherwise I leave pretty encouraged. In fact, I think this is the best we’ve played in a lot of ways in the last seven games.”
Last night was an ugly mess, but Brad Stevens is really good at accentuating the positive on a night where very little went right. I’ve said it before… things like this are what make him a really good coach. He knows what tone to strike after wins and losses.
There’s no doubt that the Celtics put up a fight. They could have rolled over after the Dunleavy-fueled run that put the game out of reach, but they made a little run of their own and made it so the game wasn’t really over until the final minute.
So kudos to Stevens for keeping the right frame of mind. Pumping up those guys was probably the right thing to do for a bunch that is probably quite frustrated.
Problem is, that’s probably not going to change this month, so Brad’s going to have a lot of encouraging to do.
Page 2: Is it time to sit Sullinger?
Boston Celtics center Jared Sullinger has been adamant that a lingering left-hand injury isn’t a big concern, but the growing padding around the ailment and a declining stat line suggests the opposite.
Two days after aggravating the hand injury while falling to the floor against the Atlanta Hawks, Sullinger sported a padded glove over his left paw during Thursday’s 94-82 loss to the Chicago Bulls. Sullinger put up 11 points and 11 rebounds over 31:13, but his shooting touch (5-of-12 overall, 0-for-5 away from the restricted area) seemed off, and he just hasn’t been himself in recent games.
[...] There might be nothing Boston’s medical staff can do. Sullinger might be at the mercy of letting the ligaments and bone bruise heal and, with proper padding, he might simply be limiting any further chance of aggravation. But the fact that it’s become an issue at all, more than a month after the initial injury, is reason for concern. And the Celtics must consider resting Sullinger and that hand if that’s the only way to allow it to fully heal.
I know Jared Sullinger is a warrior. This is an old school type of player who believes in hard fouls, doing the dirty work, and playing if he’s able to walk and run.
This is why the Celtics have to take the decision out of his hands. He’s clearly not the same Sully we’ve seen all year.
Sullinger usually catches EVERYTHING, but with the hand bothering him he’s missed a lot of rebounds/passes he normally grabs.
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) January 3, 2014
There’s little point in throwing Sullinger out there if he’s not catching passed and grabbing rebounds he usually gets.
Here’s the thing about Sullinger: he can’t be a 70% player and be effective for this team. Guys like LeBron and Durant can be effective at 70%. Sully needs to be at 90%+ so he can do things like muscle his way in between 3 defenders and grab rebounds that he shouldn’t be grabbing.
If he can’t finish off those plays by grabbing boards with his left hand, then there’s no point in putting him out there. I’d rather the Celtics sit him down so he can get healthy.
It’s possible that the MMA glove (or whatever you want to call it), just takes some getting used to, but the last thing I want to do is set Sullinger back with another injury, or a worsening of this one.
Related links: CSNNE: Blakely: Sit Sullinger so his hand can heal
The rest of the links:
Herald: Rondo’s road looks smooth | Coach clears son’s name with Peyton | Realistic Rondo in no rush | Globe: Rondo “pretty close” to returning | CSNNE: Brooks scores 27 in D-League debut | D-League stint would test Rondo’s conditioning | ESPN Boston: Rondo would embrace camping with Claws | Thibodeau, Stevens hold mutual respect | WEEI: Celtics slump continues