Could Jared Sullinger become rookie starter for Celtics?

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Jared Sullinger slid down the draft board back in June because doctors had red-flagged his back. There might be surgery needed.

He fell all the way to the Celtics, a team with a solid veteran power forward in Brandon Bass — a guy who hit some big shots and played a role in the team reaching the Eastern Conference finals.

Looks like Sullinger may slide right past Bass into the starting lineup.

Sullinger started Sunday for Boston in its second preseason game. You want to be careful reading too much into preseason lineup changes, but Sullinger was running with the starters in practice and coach Doc Rivers said he would consider it, according to Gary Washburn at the Boston Globe.

“I’m going to try (Sullinger) a couple of games, and then I’ll throw Brandon in and then I’ll put Darko (Milicic) in a couple of times,” Rivers said following the team’s workout Wednesday. “You can read into it whatever you want. But there’s been no decision made on anything.”

That’s a coach talking. In coach speak. But clearly Sullinger has caught his eye.

“I don’t really want to get into who’s starting who’s not yet. We’ll see. I’m not worried about our starting lineup. I’m far more worried about our second lineup, and that’s the lineup that we’re going to keep moving guys around.”

That second unit could really use a steady, smart, pick-and-pop big to provide some points. Someone just like Brandon Bass.

DeMarcus Cousins barrels in for powerful putback dunk over Bucks (video)

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When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).

This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.

Enraged Jason Smith restrained from Mario Chalmers (video)

AP Photo/Nick Wass
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During the Wizards’ win over the Grizzlies last night, Mario Chalmers tried to stop Jason Smith from shooting after Smith had been called for travelling. It’s a fairly common tactic, one pioneered by Kevin Garnett. Players don’t want their opponents to gain confidence by seeing the ball go through the net, even after play stops.

But Chalmers held onto Smith’s arm, and Smith took umbrage.

NBC Sports Washington:

I think it’s more likely, after halting Smith’s shot, Chalmers was trying to hold up Smith rather than yank him down. But I can’t know Chalmers’ intentions, and holding up a falling person by his arm isn’t very effective.

The double technical foul called seems about fair.

PBT Extra: Two months from trade deadline watch DeAndre Jordan and… Paul George?

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The NBA trade deadline got moved up this season to Feb. 8 so the league can avoid the spectacle of DeMarcus Cousins being traded during the All-Star Game and then doing an uncomfortable press interview afterward where he had to be told of the situation.

That means we are less than two months away from the trade deadline, and in this PBT Extra I look at the big names that could be on the market.

The Clippers seem likely to move DeAndre Jordan, the only questions are where and what will they get back? But three other teams have big decisions to make about their stars: Oklahoma City with Paul George, New Orleans with DeMarcus Cousins, and Memphis with Marc Gasol. Right now none of those guys are on the market, but that could change.

Trey Lyles dunks on Jayson Tatum then disrespects him far worse (video)

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Trey Lyles made a nice play in the Nuggets’ loss to the Celtics last night, driving by Jayson Tatum then dunking on him.

On the other hand, that swirl around Tatum’s head was not very nice at all.