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STREAKING! Celtics 99, Kings 89

iThis Jared Sullinger guy might be an NBA player.

Tonight’s game appeared to be a blatant loss-grab. Facing a King’s team with enough talent to win a fair number of contests (even though they haven’t so far), the Celtics sat Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley — the former just to give him rest, the latter with a sore right ankle.

Instead, Sully carried the Celtics to a 99-89 win over Sacramento, scoring 31 points and grabbing 16 rebounds as Boston outscored the Kings 28-20 in the final quarter to pull away. Jared Bayless and Kelly Olynyk added 19 and 11 efficient points respectively, helping counteract DeMarcus Cousins’ 31-point output.

Tonight’s win is the Celtics’ third in a row. Brian will be by later with more but for now, feel free to panic or gloat in the comments, depending on your personal tanking preference.

  • swissflix

    So what’s the plan – are we tanking or not?? Fun wins against teams in despair mask our weaknesses. And Hump benched again. I’m not so sure this makes sense in the long run.

    • Ghost of Garden Past

      Kardashian was late for shoot around so Brad left him on the bench for extended minutes. I think they tried to “tank” the game by having Rondo and Bradley out with “fatigue”. However the Kings countered by sitting Rudy Gay.

      When you look at it, we started a rookie point guard, an almost washed up energy/effort guy (Wallace), a mystery (Green), a very undersized C (Bass) and, what looks like, a legit NBA starter on a good team (Sully) and won the game.

  • The Cardinal

    The results are going to be the same whether we actively “tank” or not – we will have a losing record and a chance at a high draft pick. Despite the odds, the number of ping pong balls never matter. Can you remember the number of times since this lottery nonsense started that the team with the most actually received the first pick?

    Yes, I’m probably in a very small minority, but I hate the lottery because it forces owners/GMs/coaches to choose somewhere on the continuum between ethical and at best, borderline unethical decision making. It’s the difference between someone who is struggling economically buying one lottery ticket/week, but continuing to bust their ass in a dead end job (our Celtics so far) vs. buying 10 lottery tickets/day, blowing off work, clubbing on the weekend, and doing nothing positive in the here-and-now to improve their situation (the apparent philosophy of tanking fundamentalists). Chances are things will get much worse for much longer for the latter before there is any chance – if ever – of things getting better. That’s the first theory of The Cardinal-Economics 101.3427 course!

    • swissflix

      The current situation just reminds me a lot of 93-94 or 94-95. Somehow there was some tanking involved but it was not carried out with all consequences and the team would win about 30 games only to crash even harder in 95-96 and ultimately wasting years. Either you go all in or not at all, that is what i believe. At this point two things are pretty clear: The small potential of the current team and the potential of this year’s draft. So right now tanking makes sense to me for the remaining 30 games.

      • The Cardinal

        Do you remember that it took 10 – 11 years to win a championship after that disastrous, embarrassing episode? Seriously, it was so blatant that we all had to laugh to keep from cryin’, and IT STILL TOOK GREATER THAN A DECADE to win a championship!!! I hate ML Carr to this day despite knowing he did as directed (and yes, I hate the old owners more!!!).

        That’s why I don’t but the “all or nothing” part. We ended up drafting 3 and 6 taking Chauncey Billups and Ron Mercer. Billups was traded before the deadline and lord knows what happened to Mercer.

        It’s pretty obvious that neither of those draft picks played any role in our getting better a decade later. Truthfully, only the Jeff Green pick in 2007 was consequential, and that was because he was traded for Ray!

        You can back test your theory with any organization since the lottery came into existence and with the exception of Tim Duncan in San Antonio, I can’t recall a situation where a number one pick has led the team that drafted him to the promised land.

        • swissflix

          I agree with you about the risks of the lottery. But that does not mean it cannot play part of a rebuilding strategy. I wasn’t talking about the first pick. But adding a top five pick could possibly mean a lot this year. Using the lottery as means to gather assets is perfectly fine.
          ML Carr was a disaster. However, i have to disagree with you on one thing. Billups was a good pick and turned out to be great. Screw Pitino (As for Mercer, i still don’t know why a guy like him could not make it)!

          • hax

            With free agency and the draft, we could look at something like Rondo-Hayward-Parker-Sullinger-Gortat with ‘championship contender’ depending on how quickly Parker becomes a Top 5 player and team chemistry.

            and plenty of other options as well.

  • hax

    Sullinger is the perfect player for this team. He’s turning into a better defense version of Kevin Love, and he’s so young that he won’t lose his prime to a rebuild. Whereas Rondo has about 5 more years of prime before he stops getting physically better.

    Sky is the limit.

    • The Cardinal

      I do think Sully is a true beast, but eventually he will get worn down unless we put a true center in the lineup beside him. I’d hate to see him prematurely aged and battered because management/the coaching staff underestimates the wear and tear of banging with guys who have greater overall body mass (height plus weight plus length) every frickin’ game.

      As a reserve, he might be able to get away with that but as a starter who is currently the center piece of your front line? Not good. I think the nagging injuries he’s sustained – and the inability to fully heal because of recurring injury – are all directly related to playing out of position.

  • Ping

    “Tanking” in the sense of acquiring assets that build toward a contender is fine, but I agree with Cardinal. The expectations for this draft are ludicrous. People initially expected LeBron, and since have wavered to a top 6 of All-Stars. How can anyone know how the Embiid/Parker/Wiggins/Smart/Randle/Exum group will pan out?

    The Celtics may very well get the next Pierce in Parker or Wiggins, but they are still likely years away from contention. Rondo/Hayward/Parker/Sully/Gortat is not better than Indiana’s core of George and Hibbert, let alone LeBron/whoever LeBron plays with. Rebuild take time. Patience is key until Ainge can strike for the next Garnett deal.