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Stevens: Sullinger's tardiness a concern if it becomes a usual thing

Brad Stevens is hoping that concerns over Sullinger's recent tardiness is a "mole hill that doesn't become a mountain."

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

When I wake up in the morning
And the alarm gives out a warning
And I don't think I'll ever make it on time.

Those words must fairly accurately sum up how Jared Sullinger has been feeling lately after being late to shootaround twice in the past week. What - is a Saved By the Bell reference too dated? Tell that to Jimmy Fallon.

In an appearance on 98.5 The Sport's Hub's Gresh & Zolak radio show, Celtics coach Brad Stevens indicated that while Sullinger's late arrivals are a growing concern, this story may have been a bit overblown.

"It's a problem if it becomes a usual thing," Stevens told Gresh & Zo. "The second time is more concerning, there is no question about that, but I'm hoping that it's a mole hill that doesn't become a mountain, and that will be up to [Sullinger]."

Sullinger was benched to start the first quarter of Sunday's game against the Miami Heat and Wednesday's game against the Denver Nuggets due to showing up late before each game.

"Everybody in this locker room has probably been late one time," said Sullinger after Wednesday's game. "They understood. Things happen. You can't let it affect you. We've still got a game."

Winter weather and Wednesday's parade in Boston to celebrate the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots conspired to make a lot of us late for work this week. It's not as if Sullinger controls the traffic. Sometimes these things do happen for reasons outside of our control. If Sullinger were late before games in a pair of instances that occurred months apart, we wouldn't be quick to judge this as a sudden trend or even be talking about this at all. Sullinger was just unfortunate that both of these instances happened so close together.

Sullinger's punctuality is something his coach will be keeping an eye on, but it shouldn't be a big issue for this team moving forward - as long as it doesn't keep happening. The traffic excuse works only so many times.

Sullinger has been punished sufficiently by being benched to start the games he was late to. Let's not turn this into #LateGate - no matter how much we like the way it rhymes.

The Celtics take on the Philadelphia 76ers tonight at the TD Garden. Hopefully Sullinger set his alarm early enough to give him plenty of time to make the commute. He can't afford not to make it on time again this week.

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