Monday, November 30, 2015

Jared Sullinger Became a Double-Double Machine for Boston in November

By Adam Lowenstein (@StatsAdam)

At halftime of Friday’s drubbing of the Washington Wizards, the Celtics already had three double-digit scorers and were en route to putting away Randy Wittman’s squad for the second time in November.

Jared Sullinger, who put up a season-high 21 points in November 6’s 118-98 victory over the Wizards, was once again a model of efficiency against Washington.

With 11 points and 12 rebounds at the half, Sullinger already had a double-double. He finished the contest as the only player to grab 10 or more rebounds, and he helped the Celtics to their third-best rebounding differential in a game this season. When outrebounding their opponent in 2015-16, the C’s are 7-1.

Boston’s 19 offensive rebounds on Friday were a season-high for the team, and those extra opportunities helped the Celtics put away the Wizards early. The game was such a blowout that it felt like Fenway Park at TD Garden. With more than six minutes remaining, it looked like all 18,624 in the sellout crowd were participating in the Garden-wide wave, which was followed by a “Let’s Go Celtics” chant.

As noted by the voice of the Celtics Sean Grande, Brad Stevens has enjoyed as many 30-point leads in November 2015 as he did collectively in his first two seasons with the Celtics. It is impressive that he and his coaching staff have been able to develop the team, considering how many transformations the roster has undergone over the last few years.

While there has been plenty to celebrate about in Boston, the District of Columbia’s basketball team has had no such luck. There may have been a reason that John Wall had voiced his displeasure with Wittman recently. The Wizards posted season lows in points scored, 3-pointers made and shooting percentage on Friday. In addition, those were all season lows for a Celtics opponent.

With Stevens finally having a go-to scorer in Isaiah Thomas, the offense has not been as desperate. Although the team’s 3-point percentage is still in the bottom half of the league, the Celtics have been able to stay in the middle of the pack in terms of offensive efficiency.

Thomas’ 30 points in Wednesday’s comeback victory over the Philadelphia 76ers were his most ever in a game at TD Garden. Then, he put up 21 points on Friday against the Wizards. Although Thomas did not start a game with the Celtics before the 2015-16 season, he has been in the starting five for the last 13 contests.

Sullinger, who has started alongside Thomas for those 13 games, has five double-doubles in that span, and has averaged a double-double over the course of the month. In addition, Sullinger is averaging a double-double in the Celtics’ nine wins during the 2015-16 season.

Speaking of C’s victories, there is an interesting development going on with Sullinger’s blocks. Boston is 8-2 when he blocks a shot this season, but just 1-5 when he goes without one. On the defensive end of the court, Sullinger and the Celtics feasted on the Wizards’ frontcourt, as the C’s matched their season high with seven blocks. When they have blocked six or more shots in a game this season, the Celtics are 6-0.

The Ohio State product, who came off the bench for the first three games this season, is looking to start 50 games for the first time in an NBA season. He is off to a great start to 2015-16 and, as evidenced by Stevens playing him just 45 minutes combined in the Wizards games, the team is trying to keep him healthy for the long run.

For more sports coverage, follow Adam Lowenstein on Twitter at @StatsAdam. Statistics used from

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