Tag Archives: Darko Milicic

Jared Sullinger Plays Big Role for Celtics’ Reserves

Boston Celtics forward seemed to be getting to every loose rebound against Marcin Gortat and the Phoenix Suns last Wendesday.

Boston Celtics forward seemed to be getting to every loose rebound against Luis Scola and the Phoenix Suns on January 9th.

It is no coincidence that the Boston Celtics won six consecutive games (before they fell to the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday) because of their improvements on the defensive end. The Celtics are getting consistent production from their bench and the rebounding of rookie forward Jared Sullinger.

Sullinger posted double digit rebounds in wins over the Phoenix Suns (16) and the Houston Rockets (11). The 6-foot-9-inch forward has accumulated most of his boards on the offensive end and he has helped the Celtics get out of last place in offensive rebounding.

During the winning streak, Sullinger averaged nearly 10 points and nine rebounds per game. He also corralled 21 offensive rebounds in this stretch against players such as Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks’ Josh Smith and Al Horford, and the duo of Marcin Gortat and Luis Scola of the Suns.

Despite Sullinger being undersized, he is able to outmuscle bigger players with a big lower mass that is able to push opponents away from the basket. He is also able to do this on the defensive end of the court.

Teammates have praised Sullinger for his basketball intelligence, his interior passing, and the ability to score. Sullinger can also make 15-foot jumpers outside the paint. Most of Sullinger’s scoring has come from within five feet of the basket because he has strong post moves and of his rebounding ability.

At the beginning of the year, the Celtics believed they had strong depth inside with Sullinger or Brandon Bass and Darko Milicic as reserves along with Chris Wilcox. The Celtics lost Milicic because he went back to Serbia to take care of his ailing mother. Bass has struggled with inconsistency. Wilcox suffered a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb and has been out since December 18th. Bass was just reinserted into the starting lineup and Jason Collins is playing limited minutes due to nagging injuries. This has left Sullinger to be a force and to play a big role in the reserve unit.

The biggest reason why Sullinger has struggled is his propensity to accumulate fouls early. This issue has not gone away since Sullinger fouled out in the final minute in the 103-91 victory over the Rockets last Friday. He committed three fouls in the first half of the 100-89 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday. He also got into early foul trouble against the Hornets. Officials will pick on Sullinger because he is a rookie. Sullinger’s size forces him to be physical when defending taller forwards, which means he will get called if the officials are calling a tight game.

At this time last year, Sullinger was battling injuries while playing for the Ohio State Buckeyes against Big Ten competition. He fell to the 21st pick in the 2012 NBA Draft in June because teams were worried about his back and conditioning problems.  Now, he is in the running for Rookie of the Year while helping the Celtics climb back into the Eastern Conference race. Currently, the Celtics are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, but they are just four and a half games behind the Eastern Conference-leading Miami Heat.

Sullinger has provided the Celtics with energy off the bench. If the Celtics continue to win, they will also need continued production from Sullinger.

Celtics Struggles Continue; Face Tough Stretch This Weekend

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin had the upper edge over Brandon Bass and the Boston Celtics on Thursday night.

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin had the upper edge over Brandon Bass and the Boston Celtics.

The Boston Celtics finally showed what they were capable of in their 93-76 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Christmas. Unfortunately, they fell right back into their routine of losing a game after the Los Angeles Clippers crushed the Celtics, 106-77, on Thursday night.

Throughout the first two months of the 2012-’13 NBA season, the Celtics have played well in spurts, but they have not been able to seize consistency. They have taken one step forward and two steps back. Their longest win streak has been three.

This team has relied too much on Kevin Garnett’s defensive intensity, Paul Pierce’s scoring, and Rajon Rondo’s playmaking ability. Their complementary players such as Jeff Green, Courtney Lee, and Brandon Bass have struggled. Green has improved over the course of this month which was highlighted by his 15-point output in the win on Tuesday, but he hasn’t seemed to put his whole package of skills together on a game-to-game basis. Lee seems to be losing confidence with his outside shot. He appears to be attempting to take the ball to the basket frequently without much success. Bass’s shot is not falling and his defense has suffered. This is part of the reason why Doc Rivers moved Bass to the bench while starting Jason Collins (Collins is better at setting screens and improves the Celtics interior defense). Collins is also a 7-footer while Bass is an undersized power forward at 6-8. Jared Sullinger has shown he is a great rebounder when he is on the court and he has a niche for making plays in the paint, but he has been plagued by foul trouble. Sullinger leads the team with 85 fouls and he only averages 17.7 minutes per game. He needs to adapt to the NBA and it doesn’t help that the officials know he is a rookie so he will not get the benefit of calls.

Read more

Celtics Must Regain Toughness And Consistency

Courtney Lee’s aggressiveness has picked up on the offensive end over the past three games.

The Boston Celtics are nearly a quarter into their 2012-’13 regular season with a 10-8 record. Through seventeen games, the Celtics have battled inconsistency on both ends of the court.

This year the Celtics’ roster appeared to be deeper than in the past five years since they acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to form the Big Three with Paul Pierce. With Allen leaving the Celtics for the Miami Heat in July, they replaced him with Jason Terry. Terry has performed fairly well other than allowing Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings to get by him for the go-ahead basket in the Celtics’ 91-88 loss to the Bucks on Saturday. Terry missed a couple of treys in the final minute.

The Celtics’ bench was supposed to be strong this year with players such as Jeff Green, Courtney Lee, Leandro Barbosa, and either Jared Sullinger or Brandon Bass. They lost Darko Milicic, who had an ailing mother overseas, for the season. Milicic was supposed to be an upgrade over Greg Stiemsma last year. Milicic’s height (7 feet) and interior defense were supposed to help the Celtics, but that never materialized. Instead, the Celtics have used undersized forwards such as Chris Wilcox and Sullinger in the frontcourt with rare cameos from Jason Collins.

Read more

Celtics 2012-’13 Season Predictions

Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green was really aggressive on the offensive end throughout the preseason.

The Boston Celtics enter the 2012-’13 season with high expectations after an offseason in which they revamped their roster. Many reporters and commentators are saying the Celtics should compete with the defending NBA champion Miami Heat.

Ray Allen decided to accept a deal with the Heat in July. The Celtics already moved to replace Allen with free agent Jason Terry. In August, the Celtics shipped 2011 first-round pick JaJuan Johnson, second-round selection E’Twaun Moore, Sean Williams, and a 2nd-round pick to the Houston Rockets for Courtney Lee in a sign-and-trade deal. The Celtics also traded Sasha Pavlovic, two second-round choices, and cash considerations to the Portland Trail Blazers. Lee signed a four-year, $21.5 million contract. This move was made to keep the Celtics under the $74.3 million luxury tax and with Avery Bradley expected to be out until December after having two shoulder surgeries, the Celtics needed to upgrade their backcourt depth. Twelve days ago, the Celtics added Leandro Barbosa to the backcourt mix. When Bradley returns, the Celtics will have four guards competing for minutes.

In the frontcourt, the Celtics drafted Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger with the 21st selection and Fab Melo of Syr]use at No. 22. Sullinger looked impressive during the preseason with his array of post moves and /ability to rebound on both ends of the court. He is undersized, yet Sullinger has a knack for getting to the ball on the glass. The Celtics also brought back Kevin Garnett to a three-year deal, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, and Chris Wilcox. They signed Jason Collins and Darko Milicic.

Rajon Rondo took over the leadership duties this summer by holding private workouts in California with several players in attendance. He also appeared to be taking outside shots with confidence. In the preseason loss to Fenerbache Ulker, Rondo drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the first quarter.

Here are five predictions:

  1. Celtics will win the Atlantic Division: The Division is improved with the New York Knicks adding point guards Raymond Felton and Jason Terry to a team with Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler. Though Stoudemire has regressed since the Knicks dealt for Anthony with injuries and a lack of consistency. He is expected to miss the first six weeks when he re-injured his left knee that he had surgery on in 2005.   The Knicks have added interior defenders such as Rasheed Wallace, but they are older and with Anthony dominating the ball, will the Knicks jell or erupt in flames? The Brooklyn Nets are moving into the Barclays Center. They resigned point guard Deron Williams and added Joe Johnson. Despite not getting Dwight Howard, the Nets still have Brook Lopez (despite not being a great rebounder and having significant injuries last year) who can be a presence inside. Andray Blatche could be a surprise this year. The Philadelphia 76ers received former Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum in a four-way trade. Bynum is out with a bone bruise and the Sixers are unsure when the 7-footer will return. These three teams have more size than the Celtics, but each squad has their own issues while the Celtics’ core is filled with veterans who nearly carried the Celtics to the NBA Finals last year. Read more

Depth To Drive Celtics Success

All eyes are on the dynamic Jeff Green to become a major contributor for the Celtics in 2012

Too old.  Broken down.  These are just a few of the phrases used by many when discussing whether or not the Boston Celtics have enough juice in the tank to make another run at the NBA title. Even with the departure of the aging Ray Allen, who “took his talents to South Beach” via free agency this offseason, age continues to haunt the Celtics as they are oft reminded that two of the assets they rely on most, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, aren’t getting younger and may not be able to handle the daily grind of an 82 game schedule.

While General Manager Danny Ainge has infused this year’s roster with some youger bodies by adding a immediate contributor in rookie big man Jared Sullinger, along with swingman Courtney Lee, the Celtics will still rely heavily on the presence and experience of Pierce and Garnett.  Even as the keys to the car are now in the hands of point guard Rajon Rondo, Head Coach Doc Rivers will have no choice but to turn to Pierce and Garnett for solid production, especially on the offensive end, on a nightly basis.

Should the Celtics hope to have a strong regular season and make a run deep into the playoffs, it will be their depth that gets them there.  In order to keep Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett both healthy and effective for the duration of the season, Doc will call upon the likes of Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee and Jason Terry.  It will be essential for these capable players to aid Pierce and Garnett by providing an offensive spark and more importantly, by playing a ton of minutes.

Given the lack of true centers on the Celtics roster, KG has become the designated man in the middle for the Green.  As many teams across the league have shifted to smaller, quicker lineups, Garnett seamlessly transitioned to the center positon last season.  While Garnett is more than serviceable playing the five, the production of the Celtics front court will lie in the hands of Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger.  It is necessary for both Bass and Sullinger to compliment Garnett while on the floor with him, but also compliment eachother in the front court as they will see a lot of minutes together, especially as the season progresses.  Rivers knows it is essential limit Kevin Garnett’s minutes throughout the year given his age and nagging knee injuries, placing a heavy burden on Bass and Sullinger to produce at a high level.  Outside of Bass and Sullinger, the Celtics are spread thin when it comes to big bodies on the  bench.  If Bass and Sullinger do not rise to the occasion and play significant minutes, the Celts will be forced to count on a group of untrustworthy players such as Chris Wilcox and the newly acquired Darko Milicic.

Read more

Jeff Green Is Ready for 2012-’13 Season

Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green is excited to be back on the court after having surgery for an aortic aneurysm last December.

After being away from the game of basketball for a year, there is nobody who anticipates  the commencement of the 2012-’13 NBA season more than Boston Celtics forward, Jeff Green.

When the NBA lockout ended and teams began practicing in December, Green failed his physical due to an aortic aneurysm. The 6-foot, 9-inch Green had surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. During last year, he rehabbed and occasionally showed up at TD Garden to watch his teammates play.

Last week, Green said he was given full clearance to participate in everything. He signed a four-year, $36 million contract in August that gave him long-term security for a franchise that initially drafted Green out of Georgetown University. The Celtics selected Green with the 5th pick in the 2007 NBA Draft as part of an agreement with the then-Seattle SuperSonics for Ray Allen and the 35th choice (Glen Davis) in the same Draft.  The Celtics also sent Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak to the Sonics .

Read more

« Older Entries