Jared Sullinger has been acting pretty strangely on the court recently.
Arguably the Celtics best player, the second year forward out of Ohio State famously called out all of the doubters around a month ago.
Oh, how times have changed.
Back then, the Celtics were still only 9-12 but they were leading the Atlantic Division. Sully had playoffs on the mind and was ready to rub it all in the faces of fans that wanted to tank.
Today, he's the one having those statements rubbed in his face.
Since the day Sully called out the "bandwagoners" the C's are 5-11.
Currently, the Celtics are on a six game losing streak, and have lost nine of their last 10. The sky's the limit in this also terrible Eastern Conference, but right now, it's looking like playoffs are off the table.
The problem is, it seems like Sullinger has not been handling losing well.
“I’m just out there trying to protect my teammates, make sure we’re in the best possible position to win the basketball game,” he said. “Instead of just giving them 2 points, I decided to take the foul. I’ve just got be more careful. I’ve just got to wrap them up, maybe. Or be not so aggressive with them, maybe. I don’t know.”
Sullinger had two flagrant fouls in 24 seconds and was ejected that night in Denver, an embarrassing 31 point loss. One of the flagrants was later rescinded but that didn't mean that the Celtics coaching staff was happy with Sullinger's behavior.
though maybe he should be thankful for that). Still, Sully's frustrations continued to shine through, with another flagrant foul, this time on Blake Griffin.
Sullinger is not used to losing. He was not on the court when the Celtics had an early playoff exit last year. His Ohio State teams were also always in contention to win it all. Now, he's on a team that's honestly not very good, and furthermore not meant to be very good.
Sully is all about winning, which is what you love about him. However, as Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens have said themselves, this year is more about improving that winning games.
For awhile it seemed like Sullinger had higher hopes than that, and now that reality might be finally settling in, he isn't handling that well.
“And when you lose by so much, that’s one reason,” Sullinger said. “And when you’re in a losing streak you try to play as hard as you can to put your team in a position to win. You get real frustrated, and my problem is that I wore my emotions on my sleeve.”
It's something Sully will have to keep in check this year, or his playing time could continue to be affected. Still, if he's around when the Celtics ever do get back to contention, that's the type of attitude you love to see. Michael Saver 1/09/2014 02:19:00 PM Tweet Edit