A month into the 2013-14 NBA season, the feeling could not be more different surrounding the 5-12 Brooklyn Nets and the 7-12 Boston Celtics.
The Nets have been the league’s biggest disappointment so far and their fan base received more bad news Monday as it was announced that Paul Pierce will miss the next two-to-four weeks with a broken bone in his right hand. He will most certainly miss the first game against his old team since last summer’s blockbuster trade, which is a week from Tuesday in Brooklyn. The Nets will appear in Boston for the first time this season on Jan. 26.
Despite a sub-.500 record, the Celtics are feeling plenty good about themselves with such low expectations, so much so that forward Jared Sullinger was talking playoffs Monday.
“We need a win to stay in the playoff rankings. (Tuesday’s game against Milwaukee) is a must-win for us, I believe,” Sullinger told ESPN.com.
He also dismissed the idea that the C’s should “tank” this season in order to obtain a high draft pick in next year’s loaded draft.
“Lot of guys expect us to just like tank for (Jabari) Parker or (Andrew) Wiggins,” said Sullinger. “Y’all might as well throw that out the door. I don’t know why people keep talking about tanking. We got competitors around here, we’re not really like that. We don’t care if Jeff (Green) averages 20 or I average eight, we just want to win. And show everybody that they can kiss our butts about that tanking stuff.”
The Boston Globe reported Monday that the decision for when Rajon Rondo could return to practice is now in his hands and it appears as though the point guard has been cleared by doctors to return.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS