The idea of Celtic Pride is older than the banners hanging from the rafters in the TDGarden. This summer "ubuntu" was retired when Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett left Boston. Jared Sullinger promised that this new group of Boston Celtics was going to play with Celtic Pride all year. They were ready to prove all the naysayers wrong.
Sadly, the Celtic Pride that Sullinger talked about has led to a little slump in his play. This slump has seemingly had a big effect on the team as a whole. Sullinger was praised as the best player on the Celtics for a long stretch of this season. His plus/minus was the only one on the plus side among all his teammates. He was hitting threes, crashing the boards, and posting up bigger men. All while barely jumping off the floor.
In short. He was a dynamo.
However, Sullinger's hand injury has apparently hindered his play. He has said that he will not sit out, and that doctors have cleared him to play.
Well, it's killing his team right now. That is not Celtic Pride, it's stubbornness. He might be trying to prove his durability following his surgery last year. Whatever it is, right now it's hurting the team.
Starting with the December 22 game against the Pacers, which was a blowout, Sullinger has been horrible shooting the ball. He has not made a single three-pointer (he's taken 11), he is shooting 27% from the field over those six games (20-69). It's not good. Sullinger has also recorded four games where he was in the minus category, and his two plus games were a plus 3 and a plus 1. Nothing to write home about. Over the course of the previous 28 games Sullinger only had a minus rating in only six games.
Something is up. We understand that the team is losing a lot of games right now; however, Sullinger's shooting is way off. It seems ridiculous to continue to play him. Over the course of the next week or so when this team will need some fresh bodies when it comes up for air following this brutal stretch of basketball.
The Celtics have enough big men that can fill in for Sullinger when he is shooting the way he is right now. This is not the Sullinger we watched from October 30 through December 21. It's been ugly and it's reached the point where he is being a little bit stubborn about his playing time and trying to prove something to his teammates or the media or whoever.
We know that Sullinger reads what people say about him. If he didn't then he would not have been so outspoken about the naysayers this summer.
Now, it might be time for Sullinger to swallow a bit of his pride and rest his hand so he does not do more damage to it, and also so he isn't overcompensating and messing up his shooting stroke when he does return to full health.
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