The Celtics opened up their first week in December going 2-1. Once again the team only played one game midweek, this time against KG's former team, the Minnesota Timberwolves. Going into the weekend they faced a back-to-back games against the Philadelphia 76ers and both teams were able to defend their home court splitting the series 1-1. Sullinger played in all three games and managed to contribute well. Kris and Fab also saw action as the Red Claws had three games this week with play on the road Thursday and back-to-back games at home against Fort Wayne and Canton.
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 8: Jared Sullinger #7 of the Boston Celtics takes a shot over Spencer Hawes #00 of the Philadelphia 76ers during the game on December 8, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Sullinger - Sullinger finished November and came into December off of three well played games. This past week he was up and down, averaging about 18 minutes per game facing Minnesota midweek and Philly twice on the weekend. His best game came in the first of the week as Sully was all over the floor and got to the free throw line six times. He shot 1-3 on the night, went 5-6 in FT totaling 7 points and added 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 1 assist to his stat line. A pretty well rounded game which might have been even more impressive had he not gotten in foul trouble, as he ended with 5. To his defense it's clear Sully falls victim to "rookie calls" at times. Although we've probably all seen it in previous games, there were a few calls specifically this week that really stuck out as unnecessary calls. On Friday Sully struggled in all aspects but on the boards. The team fell to the 76ers and a tough one point loss 95-94. He played 14 minutes in the game yet ended with zero points on zero shots and no free throws. This marked only the second time Sullinger was shutout in his career and was the first time he didn't attempt a single shot or free throw. He seemed to disappear on the offensive end not getting open for looks nor getting any offensive rebounds. He finished with a stat line of 5 rebounds and 2 turnovers. This lack of aggressiveness came at the worst time as the team as a whole struggled, especially offensively committing 19 turnovers leading to 21 Philadelphia points.
Clearly the loss and performance didn't sit well with Sully and he had a bounce back game Saturday at home. He played a week high 22 minutes, and really asserted himself in his role shooting 3-8 for 7 points. It was great to see him come out an be more aggressive offensively. At times we know our veteran's are going to need extended rest, especially in back-to-back games. By coming in and executing his role Sullinger was able to help in the 13 point win. Looking ahead to the future I can't wait to think what he might do with extended play. In just 18 MPG this season he is averaging 5.4 PPG and 5 RPG.
Sully also came out with one of his first video blogs he'll be doing this season for the Celtics, check out the video below:
Kris Joseph - Kris Joseph had a solid week as he returned to the Red Claws. While he missed their first game against the Erie Bay Hawks, he returned for the weekend and helped lead his team in back-to-back wins at home. In his first game Saturday against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, he tallied 34 minutes, shot 7-17 for 18 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and added 2 steals. It was a great all around game for the team as a whole as they held off the Mad Ants winning a high scoring game 116-113.
In their second game of the weekend, Maine played the Canton Charge and got their third straight win 103-90. Kris lead the team in scoring with 21 points on 9-15 shooting while adding 5 rebounds and 3 steals. The Red Claws organization as a whole has played extremely well now sitting at 5-2 on the season.
Kris' play has been a major role in the teams success and it's great that he's getting some solid time at the NBA D-League level.
The biggest thing we want and hope for is an expansion of his ability. As many people already know he could be a high volume scorer as he was in college. This may be a strength but it also has hurt Kris as he's been labeled as a one-dimensional player. In his time with the Celtics and Red Claws we're slowly starting to see his game adapt and contribute in ways other than scoring. This is crucial for Kris if he hope to play extended minutes at the NBA level. One thing is for sure, his work ethic and drive is there. If he continues to work hard and soak up as much information as possible he too could become a important role player in the future.
Fab Melo - Fab Melo had a quiet week as he was out with an injury. In fact, he basically did the opposite of teammate Kris Joseph. Fab started out the week playing in their first game Thursday against Erie starting at the center position. In 26 minutes of play Melo totaled 6 points on 3-8 shooting finishing with a -9 rating and only 4 boards. This extended his string of sub-par games. As we mentioned last week, Fab had struggled with foul trouble that could attribute to decreased minutes and overall play. This was not the case as he only got called for one personal foul in the game.
So what is going on with his level of play? Should we still think of Melo as a project and nothing more? The answer right now certainly seems to be yes. We know his game is raw at best but after some time with the Celtics team and D-League play some may have expected more from the 22nd overall pick. I think patience is truly what all fans need to have at this point. While Fab isn't playing bad, he hasn't been standout like Joseph in D-League play.
After Thursday's game he was listed as injured with strained quadriceps and missed both of the weekends games. Yet, in an interesting move coming today it was released that Fab Melo would be called up to the Celtic's team:
The Boston Celtics announced today that they have recalled center Fab Melo from their NBA Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 10, 2012
Melo was inactive last game for Claws. With Maine off until Friday, could be chance to get him practice reps with Boston staff this week.
— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) December 10, 2012
As noted by ESPN's Chris Forsberg, Melo was likely called up to get some reps with the Celtics squad. As the Red Claws are off until Friday it'll give him a chance to get some work in with better, faster, and smarter veterans while also receiving some mentoring from veteran leaders like Kevin Garnett. It'll be interesting to see if Melo will dress and/or get time in Wednesday's game against the Mavericks. Dallas has a big front court and Melo may be put to the test if healthy and foul trouble comes early for our bigs.
Make sure to follow Fab's time with the team this week and the team's play against the Western Conference. The team opens up Wednesday verse the Mavs and then goes on the road to face the Rockets on Friday and Spurs again in San Antonio on Saturday.