The Celtics faced the "Texas Triangle" this past week, matched up against the Mavs at home to open the week and then went on the road for back-to-back games against Houston and San Antonio. Things were looking up as the team started off the week with a double overtime win against the Mavs yet struggled in both games on the road. Because of this we saw a drastic decrease in Sully's playing time while Fab unexpectedly joined the team for a short stint. Melo was reassigned to the Red Claws mid week and joined Kris Joseph for their weekend games against the Mad Ants and Erie Bay Hawks.
SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 15: Tiago Splitter #22 of the San Antonio Spurs passes the ball over Jared Sullinger #7 of the Boston Celtics during the game between the Boston Celtics and the San Antonio Spurs on December 15, 2012 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.
Jared Sullinger - Jared started off the year battling with Brandon Bass for the starting position at the power forward position. As the season's progressed we've seen Sully move to a role player position on the bench and as the team has struggled, so has his playing time. After only a few games in the season it was well documented that a Sullinger-Bass pairing in our frontcourt simply wasn't working. Because of this Doc Rivers completely eliminated the pairing and instead would look to match either with KG, Chris Wilcox, or occasionally Jeff Green. Wins have been tough to come by for the Celtics and win streaks to this point are nonexistent. Here's a breakdown of MPG our bigs are averaging thus far; KG - 29.3 MPG, Bass - 27.5 MPG, Sullinger - 17.3 MPG, Wilcox - 13.4 MPG, and Green 22.8 MPG (shared between 3 and 4 spot).
While this breakdown doesn't seem too drastic is should be noted the numbers are shifting as the season goes on. In November Sully averaged 19.1 MPG compared to December where he's averaging just 14.9 MPG. This can be a direct result of Wilcox's effectiveness and chemistry on offense and defense. One can also assume that although Jared hasn't played bad, Doc Rivers would prefer to play veterans in close games than a rookie.
This trend continued against the "Texas Triangle" as he averaged just 12 minutes in the three games. The week started off with a double overtime victory over the Mavericks. Sully played just 11 minutes in the game shooting 0-3 for zero points and grabbed just 3 rebounds. This certainly was an off night for our rookie in a grind-out game that forced our veterans to play extended minutes.
Coming into the weekend, facing back-to-back games Friday and Saturday the Celtics needed a large contribution from their bench. On Friday the team struggled again falling to the Rockets 101-89. Sully basically split time off the bench with Wilcox and had a bounce back game shooting 3-7 for 7 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block. While the effort and stat line look good, a majority of his minutes and production came in the closing minutes when the game was out of reach and our reserves finished out the game.
Finally, on Saturday the Celtics faced the Spurs in their second meeting of the year. The team again struggled resulting in a similar loss 103-88 at AT&T Center in San Antonio. Sully played 11 minutes in this game shot 1-2 for 2 points and played well down low grabbing 7 boards, 4 of them on the offensive end. He and Terry were the only players who finished with a positive plus/minus rating finishing at +1.
It'll be interesting to see Sullinger's playing time this upcoming week. All three teams we'll face pose different threats of their own, especially Chicago and Cleveland who have frontcourts that could cause problems for Sully and the team alike.
Joseph attempts to block a shot by Kyle Gibson of the Canton Charge.
Kris Joseph - Kris posted the best week of the rookie bunch in his time with the Maine Red Claws. The team had two games this past week splitting them going 1-1 in very close games. Kris' has really become an integral part to the teams success and consistently has top one or two performers from the squad.
In their first game against the Mad Ants Joseph logged 30 minutes while going 9-16 for 22 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals. Kris' minutes matched with Shelvin Mack have been extremely productive. Both have been shooting lights out as of late and Mack is finding Kris' early and often, assisting on many of his baskets. While this is great for the team I hope it doesn't affect Kris' development in ways other than scoring. Coming in he was known as a shooter and we've seen an effort to attack the rim more. His role with the team is certainly a score first player as he typically takes the most FGA of all players.
In their second game of the week the team faced the Erie Bay Hawks. Again Joseph played well totaling 20 points on 6-13 shooting with 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 assist. The best news came from his work getting to the line. He was aggressive and attacked the lane resulting in 6-8 from the free throw line. This is great to see as it's crucial for him to develop driving into his array of weapons. Many small forwards in the NBA are known for their size and strength. If Kris' is to play in the NBA he must acquire the skills to put the ball on the floor and attack.
Fab Melo - As mentioned in last week's Rookie Round-Up, Fab Melo was unexpectedly called back up to join the Celtics. This was odd to most as Fab had missed time with the Red Claws due to an ongoing quadriceps injury. Some believed he was called up to get some minutes with the veterans and help aid a depleted frontcourt due to Chris Wilcox battling sickness.
This ended up being none of the above as it was reported Melo was called up simply to evaluate the quadricep injury.
Doc River said that Fab Melo was injured. Under new rules, team had to activate him for treatment. @celticsblog
— Gethin Coolbaugh (@GethinCoolbaugh) December 13, 2012
After getting the injury looked at Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com reported Fab was reassigned to the Red Claws and broke down the reasoning further:
The Celtics recalled rookie center Fab Melo from Maine on Monday, then returned him to the Red Claws of the D-League on Wednesday. Why the quick back-and-forth? Rivers clarified that Melo is battling an injury (a quadriceps issue) and needed to be formally recalled in order to meet with the Celtics' training staff. "The new rule is that if you bring a guy back, you have to activate him," said Rivers. "We had to activate him because he’s injured and he needed treatment with us. It sounds a little silly, but that’s the rule."
Upon his return Fab played minimal time in both the Mad Ants and Bay Hawks games. In the first he recorded 24 minutes, scoring 10 points on 4-7 shooting and grabbed 2 rebounds. The rebounding number is unsettling, especially for a player who's seven feet tall but the offensive production is great to see. In their second game against the Bay Hawks Melo played 18 minutes finishing with 5 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Again nothing flashy about his numbers yet they've been consistent with what the team needs.
Melo continues to learn and grind in the D-League and we can only wait and see what the end result may be. Hopefully he can recovery from this injury, stay healthy, and increase playing time. Many people wonder how the 22nd overall pick has been doing and Celtic CSNNE Insider A. Sherrod Blakely put it best:
Stay with Celtics Green for all midweek news and recaps. The Celtics play tomorrow on the road at Chicago as the face the Bulls. They'll return to Boston Wednesday to face the Clevaland Cavaliers and finish off the week Friday against the Bucks at home. The Red Claws face familiar foes this weekend in back-to-back games as they match up against the Mad Ants and Bay Hawks again, this time at home.
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