The Celtics closed out a game-heavy November with a blowout win at home that lead to increased playing time for Jared Sullinger. We also saw some action Joseph with the Celtics and from Melo as the Maine Red Claws played two more games, one of them matched up against the Lakers D-League affiliate the Los Angeles D-Fenders.
BOSTON - NOVEMBER 30: Jared Sullinger #7 of the Boston Celtics takes a shot over LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the Portland Trail Blazers on November 30, 2012 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2012 NBAE (Photo by Steve Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jared Sullinger - Jared continued his effective play this past week, seeing some increased playing time due to injuries and because the team grabbed an hefty lead. On Friday night the team faced the Portland Trailblazers at home in their first game without Rajon Rondo. The team as a whole played well and Sully helped make a large contribution. Chris Wilcox was battling a stomach bug that held him out of the game while Jeff Green struggled with a minor knee injury. Sully logged 31 minutes in the game shooting 4-6 for 9 points. He also continued to show his rebounding skill grabbing 8 rebounds, 2 coming on the offensive end.
Sully's minutes were almost cut in half on Saturday night as the Celtics faced the Milwaukee Bucks on the road. He totaled just 14 minutes in the game and struggled to get anything going offensively but played well on the defensive side. He shot just 1-4 in the game finishing with 2 points and added 5 rebounds to go along with 3 blocks. Jared's decreased play came as Jeff Green had one of his best games this season. This is something that we'll continue to see over the course of the year but is no new news to him or fans. Coming into a veteran filled team he knew he'd have a decreased role but has bought in and performs when given the chance.
In fact, now that we're 17 games into the season we have a decent sample size to look at in comparing Sully's productivity. Per NBA analyst and stat man John Hollinger, Sullinger is currently ranked 13th among rookies in Player Efficiency Rating. With a rating of 13.08 Sully is proving his worth and certainly making a strong argument to be considered the biggest steal in the draft. For a full breakdown of Hollinger's PER stats for rookies check it out here.
As noted numerous times before, Sully is not only getting praised for his work in games but also in practices. He has gained the respect of his coaches and teammates alike while showing he's hungry to improve and continue to learn.
Doc Rivers to Jared Sullinger after practice, "Way to play, baby."
— Gary Dzen (@GlobeGaryDzen) November 27, 2012
Kris Joseph - Kris was active this past week, playing some ball with both the Celtics and Maine Red Claws. Kris did not play in the Red Claws first game of the week on Friday, November 30 against the LA D-Fenders as he was called back up to the Celtics' roster. Initially it was reported he and Melo came up for just practice purposes but proved otherwise as the weekend came.
#Celtics coach Doc Rivers: Kris Joseph just here for practice, then headed back to Maine. Fab Melo also here to train, didn't practice.
— Scott Souza (@scott_souza) November 27, 2012
This was a necessary move as the Celtics played back to back games and were lacking depth. Rajon Rondo was out with the two game suspension while Jeff Green (Knee) and Chris Wilcox (sickness) were both questionable for the games. Kris potentially looked to be the primary backup for Paul Pierce at the three spot but that changed as Green and at times Wilcox were a go. He still managed to record 5 minutes in the first game against Portland shooting 0-3 and finished with 2 points. Come Saturday Kris did not play as Jeff was back in full form and put together back to back solid games.
While it may not be a good thing, this shows the importance and convenience to having a D-League affiliate Being only 17 games into the season the Celtics don't want to face injuries or a shortage of depth but thankfully we have the option to bring Joseph back if need be.
#Celtics coach Doc Rivers: Being able to bring rookies back on off day for Red Claws a big advantage to new NBDL affiliation.
— Scott Souza (@scott_souza) November 27, 2012
Kris returned to the Red Claws and was active for the team on Sunday as they faced the Sioux Falls Skyforce. The team suffered a loss in the game 98-87. Joseph played the most minutes for the team with 39 and finished going 6-17 for 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists. For highlights from the game checkout a video recap here.
Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer: Fab Melo of the Red Claws goes down during a drive by Robert Sacre of the LA D-Fenders during the Red Claws opener in Portland on Friday, November 30, 2012. A foul was called against Sacre on the drive.
Fab Melo - Just like Kris, Fab was busy this past week coming to the Celtics for training purposes while playing in both of the Red Claws games. In their home opener Maine matched-up against the LA D-Fenders.
In honor of their NBA affiliates and their historic rivalry both teams supported their NBA teams jersey's. Fab continues to get used to the NBA style and pace. Although he's shown flashes of greatness his numbers haven't been to impressive. Against the D-Fenders he played 28 minutes going 3-9 for 8 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 personal fouls.
His struggles continued in Sunday's game against Sioux Falls. Fab played 24 minutes in the game this time going 2-5 for 4 points, 9 rebounds, and another 5 personal fouls. The fouling trouble could be an indicator that he is still learning to adapt to playing man-to-man defense and effectively guard pick and roll situations.
We all know and have heard Melo is a project and will need to play a full season until any conclusions on his potential can be addressed. The constant foul trouble certainly won't help with his development as he's limited in games and can't seem to establish a rhythm. Hopefully with continued experience and tutelage from our veterans in practices or workouts we'll see some slow but steady improvements. Checkout game highlights or even the entire game against the LA D-Fenders here.
The Celtics have three games this week with the first coming on Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves marking the return of Greg Stiemsma. The team then faces back-to-back games against the 76ers, first in the road in Philly then back home at the Garden Saturday. The Red Claws also have three games this week starting with play on the road Thursday against Erie. Then then face back-to-back games at home against Fort Wayne and Canton.
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