Celtics head coach Brad Stevens recently told forward Jared Sullinger, who had had some rocky outings last month, that he should use this season as a chance to prove that he is among the league's young elite. It appears Sullinger took the advice to heart as he poured in a career-high 31 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in a 99-89 Boston (18-33) win over Sacramento (17-33) Friday night at TD Garden.
It was the Celtics' third straight victory as they continued to take care of business against their lottery-bound brethren. The C's win was impressive in that they beat the Kings without the services of Rajon Rondo (soreness) and Avery Bradley (ankle). The Kings were without star swingman Rudy Gay.
Jerryd Bayless (19 points), Kelly Olynyk (11 points) and Jeff Green (17 points) also scored in double-figures for the green.
What they'll be saying: The Celtics haven't put smiles on the faces of those in Boston this week that are dreaming of favorable Ping-Pong balls this May. They just had a stretch where they faced four teams destined to miss the playoffs (Philly twice, Orlando and Sacramento) and they won three of them. The C's are now just 4.5 games behind Charlotte for the eighth playoff spot in the East.
Boston will host Dallas Sunday night (6 p.m., CSNNE).