CHICAGO – In what falls under the ‘where did that come from?’ category, Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has inserted veteran wing Gerald Green into the starting lineup for tonight’s Game 3 against Chicago.
Green, who did not play (coaches decision) in Game 2 after logging just three minutes, 59 seconds in Game 1, will make his first start for the Boston Celtics almost 10 years ago to the day (April 13, 2007) tonight.
But the stakes are so much higher now than they were back then.
Stevens, who has a 2-10 playoff record, explained why he made the decision.
“The biggest thing I wanted to be able to do, and our guys want to be able to do, (is) spread them on offense and shoot the ball,” Stevens said. “And then on defense, we need … if we’re not going to play two bigs we have to be long on the perimeter and help each other rebound.”
Green learned of the lineup yesterday in practice.
I asked Green what did it mean to him to get the starting nod in a game that has so much riding on it.
Boston comes in facing a 2-0 series deficit after losing Games 1 and 2 in Boston.
“Obviously, he has a lot of trust in me,” Green said. “My job is still the same; do whatever to help this team be successful. And right now, it’s a must-win by any means necessary. I’m going to go out there and play my heart out.”
Green was signed by the Celtics this summer because of his instant-offense capabilities, something that doesn’t seem like a natural fit with the team’s starting five.
“Honestly, I think I play really good with I.T. (Isaiah Thomas). I feel I’ve always played really good with him,” said Green who in addition to Boston, was a teammate of Thomas’ in Phoenix. “I’m not going to try and do anything out of my character. I’m just going to go out there and focus on rebounding and defense, and try to be the most athletic player on the floor.”
Boston’s starting five tonight with Green also includes Avery Bradley, Thomas, Jae Crowder and Al Horford, has seen limited time together this season.
They have played in seven games totaling 16 minutes this season. In that time, they have scored a total of 33 points on 10-for-23 shooting and 12-for-13 from the free throw line. But the group has struggled from 3-point range, missing eight of their nine 3-point attempts which is why their offensive rating (97.9) isn’t all that impressive.
However, this unit has done a really good job defensively with opponents shooting 11-for-33 from the field which factored heavily in their defensive rating being an impressive 96.0 this season.