Brad Stevens says Jared Sullinger “will be out a while” with foot injury

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In the wake of a busy trade deadline that saw the Celtics land a potential long-term piece in Isaiah Thomas, they were hit with some serious bad news:

So, this is not ideal for the Celtics. With Sullinger out, Boston is looking at Shavlik Randolph, Jae Crowder and (if he’s not bought out) Brandon Bass as their starting power forward options. The Celtics are 20-31, just a game and a half out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Trading minor pieces for Thomas could have helped them make a push for the eighth seed. Losing Sullinger for a while is a step back.

They could still make it, because the bottom of the East is a disaster, but it’s an uphill battle now.

Jared Sullinger removed from Celtics’ starting lineup (again) for being late (again)


BOSTON – Jared Sullinger was late to the Celtics’ pregame walkthrough Sunday.

“Not a trend. Not a problem,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said in announcing Sullinger would come off the bench against the Heat. “Not a short or long-term problem.”

Sullinger returned to the starting lineup at New York on Tuesday, but in the Celtics’ next home game – tonight against the Nuggets – he was again late to the pregame walkthrough. Stevens again brought Sullinger off the bench.

“It’s a great decision by coach,” Sullinger said.

Sullinger blamed traffic for both incidents, saying he got caught behind a funeral procession Sunday and had an ambulance block traffic today. And while that might be the case, it might not be the only factor.

A reporter asked whether Sullinger was disappointed in himself.

“I mean, it happens. It happens,” Sullinger said. “You was probably late to a game before.”

The reporter responded he had been.

“Was you disappointed in yourself?” Sullinger asked

“Yes,” the reporter answered.

“Answered it right there,” Sullinger said.

Stevens didn’t say whether Sullinger would be fined, but this could hurt Sullinger’s bank account in 2016.

Sullinger’s qualifying offer is slated to be $3,270,004. If he meets the starter criteria – starting 41 games or playing 2,000 minutes next season or averaging those totals this season and next – his qualifying offer would increase to $4,433,683.

Sullinger – who has started 46 of Boston’s 47 games and played 1,352 minutes this season – is likely to meet the starter criteria, regardless. He’s also unlikely to accept the qualifying offer. Still, it’s possible injury or offseason roster changes interfere, and these two missed starts could come back to haunt him.

If Sullinger arrives on time from here, this will quickly be forgotten. The snow that has blanketed the city could explain his uncharacteristic tardiness occurring for consecutive home games, even if a funeral/ambulance/ticket also contributed.

“I hope it’s the last time we talk about it,” Stevens said. “I hoped that Sunday was, too.”

Evan Turner drains game-winning three, Boston beats Portland (VIDEO)


Portland came in a little bit tired, they had played the night before in Phoenix, and they were without their star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who will be out 6-8 weeks with an injured thumb. Still, a whole lot of big shots from Damian Lillard and Wes Matthews made this look like Portland was going to have too much firepower and get a win at home.

But Boston went on a late 10-3 run, got within one and had time for one last shot. Jared Sullinger tried to pound the ball into the paint but Matthews comes by and knocks it away — Sullinger dives to the floor to get it, comes up and from a seated position fires a pass out to Evan Turner.

Who nails the three.

Boston would win the game, snapping a 24-game road losing streak against the West.

Rajon Rondo shines in exhausting Boston homecoming


BOSTON – Rajon Rondo exited the visitors’ locker room and immediately laid eyes on the large amount of media filling the hallway interviewing Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle about the former Celtics point guard.

“Oh s***, Dirk,” Rondo said.

“This looks aggressive,” Dirk Nowitzki said, following Rondo from the locker room.

Whatever aggressiveness, reporters showed in covering Rondo’s return to Boston after being traded to Dallas, he topped it several times over once the game began. Rondo scored the Mavericks’ first 10 points and finished with 29, his most in two seasons, in Dallas’ 119-101 win Friday.

And Celtics fans matched his enthusiasm. After Rondo played into their worst complaints about him by admitting he hadn’t played defense the last two years, they showed their best appreciation by giving him a standing ovation following a rousing first-half video tribute.

Rondo waived to the crowd and looked toward the lights as players from both teams clapped along.

By the time he reached the post-game press conference, Rondo was no longer stunned by the attention. When he saw a room full of reporters, didn’t look surprised. He just gladly accepted the bottle of water a Mavericks staffer offered him and went to the microphone.

“I’m emotionally tired. I’m physically tired,” Rondo said. “I’m drained right now, and it was a tough game to get through.”

Not too tough.

Dallas cruised behind Rondo’s career-high five 3-pointers on seven attempts. Never known for his outside shooting, Rondo faced a defense that, as Celtics forward Jared Sullinger put it, “baited him to shoot and wanted him to shoot.”

So, Rondo shot. And shot and shot. He made his first seven field-goal attempts, including four from beyond the arc.

“He’s a big-game player. That kid is amazing,” Dallas center Tyson Chandler said. “…He lives for moments like this.”

It’s been a while since Rondo had a big game in Boston. The Celtics traded Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce before last season, starting a rebuilding process that saw Rondo – a four-time All-Star whose top skill is creating for others – share the floor with teammates who couldn’t capitalize on those opportunities.

That wasn’t always easy for Rondo. The 2007-08 Celtics are the only of the last 10 NBA champions without a player still on the team. Until the trade to Dallas, it had been on Rondo to hold down that legacy in Boston. Alone.

With the Mavericks, he’s hardly on his own. Dallas features former champions Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler and up-and-comers Chandler Parsons and Monta Ellis. Once again, Rondo has teammates who make the most of playing with him.

The process of Rondo developing chemistry with this new group is ongoing, but if his jumper is falling like this…

“It makes us unstoppable,” Chandler said.

And if this was an aberration, special performance on a special night, nobody in Dallas is worried about the fit.

“Rondo can figure out any puzzle,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.

He figured out how to play with Garnett and Pierce on a contender. He figured out how to remain productive on lesser teams. And he figured out how to get through this homecoming without crying.

Bigger challenges lie ahead for Rondo with Dallas, challenges with championship implications. This is the venture he wanted, even if meant leaving behind the only professional team he’d known.

Rondo thrived in Boston, embracing the city and winning a championship. This is where he grew up in the NBA, where he learned from Garnett and Pierce, where he developed his own style of cockiness.

What would he have said if told, during his rookie year, that he would leave Boston with the accolades that warrant a video tribute and hero’s celebration upon his return?

“Sounds about right,” Rondo said.

Rajon Rondo is no longer a Celtic, but he sure is still Rajon Rondo – and that’s why Boston fans were so happy to see him tonight, one last time for a while.

DeMarcus Cousins ejected for throwing Marcus Smart to ground (VIDEO)


We saw the old DeMarcus Cousins on Wednesday in Boston.

The one that can be lazy and have bad habits on defense.

The one that gets easily frustrated and can lash out.

That Cousins got ejected at the 7:31 mark of the fourth quarter of what by then was already an ugly blowout loss for the Kings. Cousins was frustrated, Smart came in low and used his backside to try to establish position, and Cousins didn’t like it. Then he threw Smart around.

He got a flagrant II foul and was ejected. Cousins can expect a fine from the league as well for his efforts.

Boston won the game 106-84 behind 20 points from Jared Sullinger.

Hopefully by the Kings next game we can see the newer Cousins we have been used to this season. The one now-fired Mike Malone helped grow.