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Sullynyk shine in Celtics scrimmage

In a TD Garden full of season ticket holders and the media, the team engaged in two scrimmages with highlights coming from Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, and rookie James Young.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

CelticsBlog couldn't be there, but our friends Jay King at and Chris Forsberg at ESPN Boston have very in depth game reports from the exhibition.  First, the head-turning performance as told by Jay King:

Utilizing his trimmer body to the tune of 12 points in the first scrimmage, Olynyk looked comfortable and confident from the tip, showcasing offensive skills very few 7-footers possess. The action actually opened with him operating as the ball-handler in a pick-and-roll. A few minutes later, he pump-faked, waited for Tyler Zeller to bite, and finished an and-1 jumper. Olynyk ran a neat give-and-go with Jared Sullinger, threw a left-handed around-the-back-pass to Marcus Thornton for a driving layup, tipped in someone else's miss, and hit a whirling baseline shot off one foot that made me say wow. The big man might never become a plus defender, but he looks to be in significantly better shape and his offensive tricks went nowhere over the summer.

Stevens has raved about Olynyk's summer workouts and his presence so far in training camp.  If the Celtics truly intend to run a Spurs type offense, Olynyk looks primed to play the role of Tim Duncan.  San Antonio starts many of their offensive sets with four perimeter players and one big at either the high post or on the block.  In this brief clip, you can already see Olynyk setting up at the free throw line, maintaining spacing, and running pick-and-pops with Avery Bradley.

Here's the report from CSNNE's A. Sherrod Blakely on the scrimmage's second star, Jared Sullinger:

As impressive as Olynyk was in the first 12-minute scrimmage, Sullinger was equal to the task in the second. He mixed in an array of 3-pointers with his usual below-the-rim work in the paint.

He may not have the length of Olynyk and Tyler Zeller, but Sullinger's weight loss coupled with a clean bill of health makes him an extremely tough cover for opposing big men and a major asset for the Celtics.

After practice, Stevens talked about how all the pieces fit together and it's good to see that Sullinger and Olynyk will be focal points going forward, regardless of whether or not they start together.  He mentioned that he knew who his 8-10 best players were and even though the assistant coaches drafted the teams for the scrimmage, the starters were:

Marcus Smart vs. Evan Turner

Avery Bradley vs. Marcus Thornton

Gerald Wallace vs. Jeff Green

Brandon Bass vs. Jared Sullinger

Kelly Olynyk vs. Tyler Zeller

That's a 10-man rotation minus the obvious absence of Rondo, Phil Pressey, and James Young (Vitor Faverani and Joel Anthony sat this one out).

Some other quick notes from the open practice: James Young seems to be making a case of staying with the big club rather than commuting back and forth between Boston and the Maine Red Claws.  Stevens has given him high marks for his defense (one of his weaknesses coming out of Kentucky) and played well in limited minutes.  Most reviews of Marcus Smart's first public appearance in green were at best lukewarm.  After a summer of rave reviews from USA Basketball and early workouts with Rondo, the kid seems to be pressing a little bit right now.  Jeff Green suffered a mild calf strain that doesn't seem too serious.  Danny Ainge and an active Rajon Rondo were spotted at half court during the pre-scrimmage shootaround.  After a playful exchange at Media Day about whether or not Rondo deserved a max contract next summer, it's nice to see the two talking and joking.  The first preseason game is Monday night vs. the Sixers.

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