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Red's Army

Recap: Sullinger dominates, C’s snap skid

John - Red's Army (@RedsArmy_John) January 15, 2014 Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger, Phil Pressey, Rajon Rondo, Recaps 42 Comments

sullinger rebound vs raptors

On November 2, 2007, Kevin Garnett pulled a white Celtics jersey over his shoulders, pounded his head onto the green padding of the stanchion, and took to the floor for his first official game as a member of the Boston Celtics.  He finished that night with 22 points and 20 rebounds.  It was the last 20-20 game from a member of the Boston Celtics.

Until tonight.

Jared Sullinger had 25 points and 20 rebounds in a streak-snapping win over the Toronto Raptors.  And if you’re regurgitating over the dramatics that started this recap, just know that it’s only a way to pretty up what was an abysmal fourth quarter during which neither team seemed to be particularly interested in winning.

Let’s go back to the start of the game, where Celtics hung tough thanks to some good ball-protection (zero first quarter turnovers) and aggressiveness that translated into free throws.  The Celtics finished the first down two, but were only down two thanks to a 7-0 advantage from the line.

Avery Bradley decided to mix things up and score in the second quarter this time around, carrying the Celtics with 14 points in the quarter and a halftime lead.  Mind you, this all came after he left the court with a bruised shooting hand.  Sullinger, meanwhile, spent the quarter strictly chomping glass, grabbing eight of his 20 boards in the second.

Then it was time for Sully to take over.  He had 20 and 11 in the second half alone, hitting on six of nine shots from the field and seven of the 10 free throws he took.  Unfortunately two of the missed free throws came in the final minute, but we’ll look past that because he followed those misses with four makes that helped seal the win.  Seven of Sullinger’s rebounds were on the offensive glass in the second half alone (eight were overall).

The Celtics, though, can’t stand success this season. Their 18 point lead dwindled all the way down to three with more than four minutes to go.  The Raptors, though, couldn’t close in any further.  The Raptors missed seven of the nine shots they took in the last four and a half minutes while turning the ball over three times.  The Celtics gave them openings on which they couldn’t, or wouldn’t, capitalize.

I’m not going to lie, There were large chunks of this game that were un-watchable.  And as Mike Gorman said during the last minute of the broadcast, “they’re not sending this fourth quarter to Springfield.”  Still, the Celtics won, and now they get Rondo back.

The Green

Phil Pressey had his first career 10-assist game.  He did a very good job pushing the tempo, and he’s proving to be a very capable NBA player.  He struggled with his shot, but he’s showing that there’s a place somewhere on the bench for him.

What more can I say about Sullinger?

Sullinger and Pressey are going to overshadow another big night from Avery Bradley.  How’s this for a stat:  Tonight was Avery Bradley’s 16th game scoring 20 points or more.  10 of them have come this season.  Oh… guess who’s a restricted free agent regarded as strictly a defensive specialist?

Let’s give Gerald Wallace some love.  I know he’s shooting his mouth off, but 7 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals off the bench is pretty good.  And his lone assist was a touchdown pass that brought back memories of Grant Hill-to-Christian Laettner.

Wait… I HATED THAT PLAY!

Anyway, nice game out of Gerald.  They won, so he should be happy tonight.

The Gross

Jeff Green…

….

….

Look, I’m going to just be real about Jeff Green.  This is what he is… equal parts awesome and frustrating.   He’s tantalizing and disappointing at the same time.  He’s got the look, the feel, and occasionally the game of a “next level” guy, but it’s just not going to be there every night.  It’s not.  And sometimes, those “not there” nights are strung together.  He was 4-16 tonight for 13 points, but he was absent for long stretches.

I like Green.  I want so badly for him to find that…. thing…. that makes him be great.  But let’s be honest, if Kevin Garnett couldn’t pull the “asshole” Jeff out of him, who can?  Rondo?

Let’s hope.

Jerryd Bayless didn’t make a shot.  Ouch.

The Greenlights

Pressey to Bradley on the break

Gerald Wallace with the steal and dunk

The Grid

  • Celtics starters:  70 points.  Celtics bench:  18 points.
  • Rebounds:  Celtics 58-44
  • Points in the Paint: Raptors 24, Celtics 32
  • Second Chance Points: Raptors 11, Celtics 25
  • Fastbreak Points: Raptors 6, Celtics 13
  • Celtics: 34.5% fg  – Raptors: 38.5% fg (maybe I should have put that under “gross”?)

Did I mention that Rajon Rondo is probably coming back Friday?

The entire Red’s Army team (except our new rookie Chris, whom we’ve bullied into recap duties on Friday) will be at the game on Friday night.  If you’re there, hit me up on Twitter and come say hi.

Box Score

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  • KWAPT

    Really like Sully. Kid’s been through a lot of adversity already and has come out back on top so far. Has the heart and grit to become a great Celtic someday. As short as his time w/KG was, you can see he really listened/emulates him.

    • Frank Aziza

      Well said… I just hope Danny realizes that Sully and Rondo need to be part of this rebuild. Those two guys are part of a championship team. Everyone else can be traded and I wouldn’t complain a bit.

      • forever_green

        Have to add AB to that short list.

      • KWAPT

        Amen..

    • GoKingsGoCeltsGoTigersGoNiners

      Totally agree! Dude’s serious. Hopefully he can stay healthy.

    • wil

      AB, Sully and Rondo combination will be one of the grittiest teams.

      Green just doesnt fit this team. Im still interested in seeing Kelly Olynyk develop. He doesnt have the strength yet. But he goes to the right spots theres just no one who is capable of passing to him. Until rondo returns.

  • GoKingsGoCeltsGoTigersGoNiners

    I’d rather play wallace over green. Green needs to be part of one of these trades.

    • GoKingsGoCeltsGoTigersGoNiners

      As long as green is on this team, the celts are not going to have a shot at the championship. He doesn’t have the grit that is needed. Better to unload him now.

      • Curt Hays

        It’d be much easier to read what you write if you didn’t write it as though you’re trying to troll.

        • GoKingsGoCeltsGoTigersGoNiners

          Seems like you’re the only one having issues.

    • Rjd12345

      That’s extreme. Green had a bad shooting night, but Wallace is downright terrible

      • GoKingsGoCeltsGoTigersGoNiners

        Wallace actually puts his heart on the floor. Green is just coasting most of the time.

        • wil

          Both of them plays better on open court, but Green can make 3’s.

          Id trade em both though lol

          • GoKingsGoCeltsGoTigersGoNiners

            Exactly, love to see both of em gone, but for the time being its green that really erks me.

  • Rich Jensen

    Said it before, I’ll say it again. Green is a secondary option for a title contender, and is paid properly as such. He’s not a ‘first option’–he can’t score against a double team–and he’s not very good at passing out of double-teams either.

    You dump Green for cabbage, and you’ll have to find another $9Mish-Jeff Green-type player somewhere else in order to have a solid shot at winning a title.

    I look at it like this: Can you imagine how terrible Manu Ginobili would look if he was the #1 option on a team, as in the best player and the first scoring option? Eeesh. The mind boggles.

    • GoKingsGoCeltsGoTigersGoNiners

      Manu is a champion, an old balding one. I don’t think you can compare the two. When manu plays, he goes all out — heart of a champion style. Green has that blank, goofy look in his eyes like dwight howard — doesn’t have the intensity to be a champ. I wouldn’t want to rely on green as a second option or any option. He’s a player that “looks” like an elite player at times.

    • wil

      i wonder if we can trade green for Gordon Hayward.

      Honestly, i cant stand green anymore. He got all the physical gift but not enough work ethic to come with it.

      Jeff Green just isnt a winner. He lacks commitment to the game.

    • KGino

      And he’s not even a secondary option… He’s 3rd option at best.

  • svc359

    Really like what you said about Green. I think heading into the season we were all expecting him to be the top dog on the team without Rondo. He isn’t. That doesn’t mean he’s not a good player. He can contribute to the game, and every once in a while take over the game. He just isn’t meant to be a first option. With Rondo coming back, and the emergence of Bradley and Sully as bigger scoring threats, hopefully we’ll see Green settle into a role he’s better suited for.

    Also, Sully is gonna be great for a looong time. 20 rebounds and he can barely get off the ground? Those skills will stay with him as he ages.

  • NE_Celt

    Great break down…it was nice to get a win and see Sully beast all over the Raptors!

    And so funny u mentioned Green and KG not even being able to bring the ahole out of him…I was thinking the very same thing this game! Too many KG related topics tonight though…how I miss his game, heart, and use of colorful food laiden commentary…sigh.

  • RedsLoveChild

    Tonight messed-upped Rondo`s “dramatic comeback”.

    He definitely would have played tonight…but, he did not figure the Celtics would beat Toronto. Beating the reeling Lakers was more of a sure thing.

    Jeff Green is green with envy….he desperately wanted to be part of todays` GS trade.

    • Curt Hays

      How do you figure? I mean, it’s one thing to assume that he would like to be part of a young team that is so good, but you say it as though you know something. You’re actually Danny Ainge, aren’t you?

      • RedsLoveChild

        Shhh…let`s just say this blog is a great way for me to release the daily stress of working long hours on Causeway St.

  • Thatguy

    As a south Floridian, I’m really jealous that Rondo may return and I won’t be there to see. I hope he comes back Friday, and everyone there has a blast.

    Congrats to Sully and Pressey for their good nights, and to the C’s for the win.

  • Mannie

    With a slimmed down depth at the 2 guard, looks like AB will have the leverage to get the money he wants

    • Robert Hodgman

      That and his rediculous ball hogging. In his head he is the only player on the floor.

  • bill_nair

    Im glad we won solely for the fact I dont want to ever see another streak like the 18 game one. give me a bunch of 8 game losing streaks just not one close to 18 games.

    Pressey was great tonight but my god does he look petrified when he shoots. Every shot looked to be a pull up jumper with him completely losing body control in the air. He really needs to work on his shot if he wants a shot in this league.

    Sully is amazing. This kid impresses me more and more every time he plays. When you think you can place a ceiling on the kid, he has games like this which make me believe he could definitely be an all star. With Rondo coming back i think sully will get more touches and will greatly benefit from it.

    • Curt Hays

      You also have to be glad that we won because beating Toronto helps the 76ers get to the playoffs!

      • bill_nair

        Nice catch. Though im sort of in the football mentality when it comes to NBA divisions. I know most people don’t care but I don’t ever want to trade or lose to in division rivals. Ive watched so many close games against the knicks, nj nets and sixers throughout my life.

        As much as I want us to “tank”, I need to see the Celtics beat the Lakers, Heat, and divison teams. Just a personal preference.

        • Curt Hays

          I’m totally with you. Beat the Heat, Beat L.A. (which Dallas stole). I’m just saying that the win is even better if it helps Philly. Because it will actually hurt both teams. If Philly makes the playoffs, they’ll lose in the first round AND not get their high picks. That means Danny has a sh’tton of picks to trade for someone great.

          So if Danny trades, say 3 or 4 or 5 1st round draft picks and cash for someone, who should it be??? You could argue Paul George, but do you really want to give Larry Bird that many picks? He picked Indiana’s starting 5…could be dangerous. I say we send them to the West for something and trade around to get Tyson Chandler.

          • bill_nair

            I think theirs a dire lack of talent in this league right now and there’s not many players I would give up our assets for. PG is as untouchable as they come. Klove could be available but I believe sully ends up being the better all around player. Love is all flash no grit, no winning. LMA is a favorite of mine but he just shoots jumpers. Doesn’t get to the line enough to make me believe hes a teams #1 option and hes not a rim protector for his size.

            Like you mentioned, Danny having all those picks is whats so great about this rebuild. Danny is a good drafter and with 15 picks (even though he wont use them all) one has to assume he gets atleast 2 all stars out of the mix.

            I personally want to see this team think long term. I dont want a quick rebuild like danny did with the big three. I want a young stud who can provide sustanible success for the foreseeable future. Obviously i believe dannys plan a is to get a player like that in the draft (Im goign to cry if we dont get Jbaari.) What makes this rebuild so enticing is the uncertainty of Dannys plan B. It could be another 2007 type trade. I hope not but i cant complain. Wait and see…

          • Curt Hays

            I don’t think it is a lack of talent. I think it is more the rules making only certain types of athletes look skilled.

            KLove wants to be a Laker, and everyone knows it. Bad idea going for him.

            Lamarcus would great if we had a paint protector…Tyson Chandler. However, Sully is just fine.

            It would be nice to have long term franchise guys with Rondo, like the Spurs. I really don’t know if I can be that patient.

          • bill_nair

            Ya I cant really pin-point it I just feel like the league is more 2nd tier talent than first. Honestly id probably give up the assets for LMA. Him at the 5 sully at the 4 and i don’t worry about the defense cause he’ll get better.

            Like you said I dont have the patience and I have a feeling Danny might not either. Which starts up the questions of do you waste Rondos prime waiting for THAT guy or do you move him.

            I wish I knew what Dannys plan B was. Cant wait to see it unfold though. And I hope Love doesn’t go to LA only cause I want them to be stuck in decades of mediocrity.

          • Curt Hays

            That’s the question because Rondo is in the midst of his prime right now. You either move Rondo and rebuild slowly, or you keep him and you rebuild now. I bet it is the latter.

            Please check out my question on the Rondo post.

            http://redsarmy.com/2014/01/16/your-morning-dump-where-rajon-rondo-will-be-limited-to-18-20-minutes/

          • bill_nair

            Its a shame, but living in the area its nothing new. Our players get crapped on constantly by “fans” and than on the latter end of their career get praised (regardless if they win here or elsewhere.) On the opposite end, a player can come into Boston drop 20 which will be his only 20 point game of the year and will be praised to the high moon. Remember Pierce being crapped on prior to the 06 season I believe?

            I’m biased, I don’t want Rondo gone. When people speak about Rondo and franchise guys they leave out the intangibles. He was around the best and learned from the best. 2 finals trips, 3 conference finals trips. You dont learn that, you experience it. Rondo might not be the guy you build around, but you need a guy like him to command the respect and patience you need out of a championship team. I believe with Sully we could afford to move Rondo and have a guy like that around, but obviously Sully has never been through the fire like Rondo.

            From a GM perspective, Danny would move Rondo if the right deal is their. But I believe Danny would ask for much more than would be reasonable. You put a guy like Jabari (ya I like the kid a little haha) next to Rondo and you probably have a contender next year.

            I say no. But than again I wasn’t moving Green in October and I surely would now. With the kid returning tomorrow and all hes done to prove himself to his teammates its unfair but its the game.

            Side note; Did you hear how he made the red-claws come to waltham and practice? Than went on to take all the players out to dinner after? Rondo might be a a knucklehead but that’s a gesture that speaks volumes. May be average to NBA players but I really believe it comes from a good place with Rondo.

          • Curt Hays

            I think that’s just how people are in general regarding the short memories. I just had a different perception of how locals felt about him. I probably value Rondo a little more than you do becase I think having Sully justifies paying Rondo more so that we have them together. Remember, we made it to game 7 against Miami in a year we weren’t supposed to make it anywhere…and that was with Rondo’s game 2 being stolen from him. Rondo did that.
            It’s so awesome that he took them to dinner. Very very cool of him. I just don’t think he’s a knuckle head. He’s no worse than Bird really. If Ainge doesn’t want him, and Rondo goes to Dallas…I’m buying season tickets down really low. He just plays the game right (like Sully and KG and Bird).

          • bill_nair

            Your a Dallas native? Curious if so how you became a Celtics fan?

          • Curt Hays

            Grew up in a farm town near the Texas Panhandle. My family loves basketball. My hometown was built on hard work and blue collars. In elementary school I read a Larry Bird biography and dressed up as him for a project (as a reccomendation from my grandpa…who was 6’6″ and had a hook shot like Lew Alcindor). I was so inspired by the way Larry Hustle played/prepared and the type of teammate he was that I immediately began working on my jump shot and learning to play real defense. I felt like Larry was playing basketball for me.

            The Celtics team culture embodies the way I think we should all live our lives. I don’t really care about any other team in any sport. Rondo, then KG, came along and once again showed the world what being a Celtic teammate means. Ray Allen even further inspired me to have the will to prepare to win. Turned out quite well, and I get to stick that in my friends’ faces.

            I coach my AAU teams based on the same principles. I owe the Celtics franchise for being that beacon for me. I feel like most of you guys here feel the same way about the culture. That is what I find most valuable about RedsArmy.

            Edit: Sorry for sounding so poetic. Just trying to be thorough.

          • bill_nair

            Dont apologize I love hearing how “out of staters” become fans of the team. Usually because of this quote.

            “The Celtics team culture embodies the way I think we should all live our lives”

            Interestingly enough, im sort of like you. I could careless about any of the other sports. Im a die-hard Celtic fan, have been since 93. Of course i love my sox, growing up in New England, but im the furthest thing from a patriot fan there is (Raiders *sigh*)

            Goes to show how deep Green really runs. And I agree about this site. Even with guys like RLC (who I greatly appreciates contributions to the board) everyone here genuinely has a positive attitude about the team. You cant say the same about other boards. Best of luck to your AAU team as well, Curt.

          • Curt Hays

            Very cool. I agree with you…even RLC, hahaha. And thanks for the luck.
            Sorry about the Raiders thing. Cheering for Tom Brady is much safer and rewarding.

  • KGino

    For those of you that used to say we should trade Bradley because his “one good shooting season was a fluke”, I told you it wasn’t!!!

    • wil

      i dont even understand how they can deny AB’s work ethic. Hardest working celtic right now.

      He significantly improved his dribbling(from bad to decent) and his shooting. One thing he should improve in the future is utilizing his athleticism to play above the rim.