Time Crunch: Sully Packs Punch in Limited Minutes

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

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NEW YORK – Jared Sullinger didn’t need 48 minutes Sunday afternoon. He didn’t even need 44.

All the big man needed in order to dominate the Brooklyn Nets was 29 minutes of action, and that’s what he got.

Sullinger blitzed the Nets to the tune of 21 points and 19 rebounds during the NBA’s first-ever 44-minute game. He was only on the court for 28 minutes and change, but boy, did he make each one of them count.

Brooklyn had no answers for him. Anywhere. Not on defense, not on offense, and most certainly not on the glass.

Sullinger scored efficiently from all over the court and also used his quick hands to pick up two steals. Those rebounds, though. Those were what stood out the most.

How impressive was his glass-crashing? How about this: Sullinger grabbed more than three-times as many rebounds as any other individual player in the entire game. More than three-times as many! No one else grabbed more total rebounds than he grabbed offensive rebounds. Those are jaw-dropping facts.

A performance like this would garner national attention had it happened during the regular season. This one won’t lead to quite as many headlines, but it’s just as impressive, if not more impressive.

Think about it. He put up a monster box score while playing in a shortened NBA game. Not only that, but he also notched these numbers in less than 30 minutes of action.

Such a performance may come as a surprise to many, but not to Sullinger. He’s been waiting on this for a while.

“All this hard work I put in during the offseason is finally paying off,” he said.

He knew it would pay off eventually, and Sunday featured the first big check. Not only for Sullinger, but for the team.

Boston is a different squad when Sullinger is playing at this level. He puts pressure on the opponent in all areas of the game.

“When he’s rebounding the ball and doing the things that he’s doing, he’s a threat,” said Jeff Green. “He helps us out in all kinds of ways.”

As Brad Stevens added, Sullinger adds a level of versatility at both ends of the court when he has it going as he did on Sunday.

“He was good, and he played the four and the five,” said Stevens. “He hasn’t played much five … I was happy with the way that he played when he was matched up with fours and when he was matched up with fives.”

How couldn’t he be? Sullinger was a dominant force every moment that he was on the floor, no matter who he was facing off against.

Just wait until the regular season hits. Sullinger will certainly be seeing more than 29 minutes of action, and he might be seeing 20/20 too.