BOSTON — Dealing with traffic hasn’t been easy for anyone in Massachusetts this week, and that includes Celtics big man Jared Sullinger.
For the second straight home game, the Celtics’ starting power forward missed the beginning of the team’s shootaround at TD Garden. In response to the tardiness, Brad Stevens has replaced Sullinger in the starting lineup with Tyler Zeller for Wednesday’s game against the Denver Nuggets, just like he did in Sunday’s game against Miami.
“It’s a great decision by coach,” Sullinger said of the decision. He also added his teammates were understanding of his situation.
“Everyone in this locker room was probably late one time,” Sullinger explained. “Things happen. You can’t let it affect you. We still have a game. Our main objective is to win, whether I start, get benched, or don’t play at all.”
“Obviously a unique traffic day,” Stevens said, referring to the Patriots parade that took over Boston. “But I don’t want to make any excuses. He won’t make any excuses. He missed walkthrough.”
Stevens indicated it would be up to Danny Ainge to decide whether Sullinger would be fined for the tardiness.
“It’s the second time in two years,” Stevens said. “It just happened to be the second time in five days. I said it the other day, I don’t think it’s an issue, but he just has to be here. And our precedent is set.
“Any time you have something you need to be at, you need to be there. That’s a major – of the few rules that you have, one of them is timeliness because we’re all on a unique schedule, right? Again, we’ve got a game to get ready for and we’ve got to figure out how we’re best going to attack this team on both ends of the court. So that is what it is now. And you move forward, and you get ready for the game.”