CHARLOTTE, N.C. Prior to Sunday's game between Boston and Denver, Nuggets coach George Karl referred to Boston's Jeff Green as a "wild card" player who could, "have a good enough game to beat you."
Karl had no idea how prophetic his words would be as Boston won a wild 118-114 triple overtime thriller that included Green coming off the bench to score 17 points.
Although Jason Terry (season-high 26 points) was a bigger contributor off the bench offensively, Green is developing into a reliable source offensively for the Celtics who has emerged lately as a clutch scorer down the stretch.
Against the Nuggets, Green drilled a 16-foot jumper in the fourth quarter that put the C's ahead 92-90 with 47.9 seconds to play. And in the first overtime, it was Green's 3-pointer with 23.8 seconds to play that forced a second overtime.
"It's great my teammates have a lot of faith in me to take those shots," Green said. "I'm going to try and make plays whether it's scoring or making the extra pass."
While his shot-making has certainly caught the attention of many, one the biggest plays of the game made by Green was lone assist near the end of the second overtime to Paul Pierce whose step-back, three-pointer with seconds remaining forced a third and decisive overtime session.
"I'm going to continue to be aggressive," Green said.
The Celtics will need that from Green, especially against a Charlotte team that plays a better brand of basketball than its record might suggest.
"They play so hard," Rivers said. "The Lakers had that problem (recently), and they made a comeback. We can't afford that."
Here are some keys to watch as Boston tries to extend its season-long winning streak to eight in a row, while extending what has been yet another miserable season for Charlotte which has lost 10 of its last 11 games.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR:Fatigue will be an issue, whether it's at the start of the game or in its closing moments. Doc Rivers would be hard pressed to play his guys their usual minutes after Sunday's triple overtime win over Denver. "Paul played 54 minutes. He's the guy I'm most concerned with," Rivers said. "If we have to rest guys and play them shorter minutes ... the only way I can do it is by my eyes. You'll never know how guys feel until (tonight)."
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Avery Bradley vs. Kemba Walker. Bradley is showing that he's more than a defender with a mid-range game that has been effective lately. Walker is having a really good season statistically. But it's going unnoticed because the Bobcats are such a bad team.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Courtney Lee was the only Celtics starter to play less than 30 minutes on Sunday, so he may very well get lots of opportunities to make an impact early on. A big game from Lee would do wonders not only for the Celtics, but also for Lee who tends to play better overall when he's more involved in the offense.
STAT TO TRACK: One of Boston's strengths all season has been their ability to rack up lots of assists. During their current seven-game winning streak, the Celtics have won the assist battle in all but one game. And this season, Boston has a 23-6 record in games in which they have more assists.