Celtics big man Jared Sullinger is “shocked” at how well he has rebounded from back surgery, writes ESPNBoston.com’s Chris Forsberg. The 6-foot-9 forward is averaging 11.3 points and 5.1 rebounds over 19.7 minutes per game in seven appearances, not bad for a guy who who underwent season-ending lumbar disk surgery back in February. Sullinger missed Wednesday’s game against the Bobcats with a bone bruise on his right knee, but hopes to be back in the lineup on tonight to take on the Blazers. Here’s more from the Atlantic Division..
- Celtics coach Brad Stevens & Co. tuned out talk from pundits this offseason who said that the club would wind up tanking for a top pick, writes the Associated Press. ”Y’all were talking about the lottery. We didn’t even think about that,” Sullinger said after their four-game winning streak came to an end. “We don’t care about that. We want to win, we want to make the playoffs, and we want to make a run. At the end of the day, that was something that you talked about, not us.“
- As much as prized offseason acquisition Kevin Garnett and others are struggling, Stefan Bondy of the Daily News (on Twitter) still believes that Deron Williams is the key to success.
- The Knicks have struggled early on this season, but the play of trade acquisition Andrea Bargnani has been a bright spot, writes Alan Hahn of MSG Network (Sulia link). Since Tyson Chandler‘s injury, the Italian big man has averaged 21.3 PPG and 6.0 RPG in 31.2 minutes per contest.
- Rich Hofmann Jr. of the Daily News looks at the elements of the Spurs system that new coach Brett Brown has brought to the Sixers.
- The Kings appear to have some interest in Knicks guard Iman Shumpert, according to a report from ESPN.com’s Marc Stein earlier today.