Green cuts into Rozier's minutes and comes up big

Green cuts into Rozier's minutes and comes up big

BOSTON -- In the first half of Boston’s 119-114 win over New York on Sunday, there was a Christmas Day sighting few expected: Gerald Green on the floor.
And as the game wore on, it was just as noticeable that Terry Rozier did not play (coaches decision) for the first time this season.
As much as Brad Stevens is praised for his play-calling, the fourth-year coach deserves some praise for having a strong pulse on what his team needs in what has been a grueling schedule with Sunday’s game against New York being the team’s sixth in nine days.
And the adjustment he made on Sunday -- taking Rozier out of the lineup and replacing him with Green -- proved to be one of the many keys to Boston (18-13) winning for the fifth time in its last six games.
Following the game, Stevens had nothing but praise for how Green came through with arguably his most impactful game during this second tour of duty with the Celtics.
Green had eight points on 3-for-6 shooting, with five points coming in the second quarter which is when the Celtics took control of the game to lead 56-48 at the half.
“That’s what you need your bench to do,” Stevens said. “He did a great job.”
And to Green’s credit, Green hasn’t grumbled or griped publicly during his second stint with the team that drafted him out of high school even though things have not gone as smoothly as he would have liked.
His minutes have been sporadic because truth be told, that up-and-down nature has symbolized his play this season.
He has appeared in 14 games this season, averaging 4.0 points and 2.0 rebounds while shooting 31.7 percent from the field -- all of which are career-lows for the veteran.
Following the win, Green spoke about what he has done to stay ready despite his minutes being inconsistent this season.
 “You have to get your extra work in,” Green told reporters. “It’s tough at times. You just have to stay motivated. I give a lot of praise to the coaches and the players keeping me ready, keeping me engaged at all times.”
Said Thomas: “That’s what it’s about. Next man up. When your name is called, take advantage of the opportunity… Hell of a game by Gerald Green. He doesn’t know when he’s getting in the game and he just stayed ready and he came in (on Sunday). He was a spark for us. We needed that.”
But with Green’s emergence, that means someone’s minutes are likely to be cut or wiped out altogether.
That player is Rozier, who did not play for the first time this season on Sunday.
Stevens would not commit to Rozier’s benching being anything more than a one-game thing. But having said that, he wouldn’t say whether Rozier would immediately return to the lineup for Tuesday’s game against Memphis.
Rozier’s minutes being cut or eliminated made a lot of sense for Boston considering how he has struggled of late, although Stevens said part of the reason had to do with having more flexibility in posting Marcus Smart up in the post with Rozier out of the lineup.
“The ability to post Smart is helpful,” Stevens said. “And when Smart can post on 1one’s (point guards), it’s different than wings (small forwards or big shooting guards).”

Certainly Rozier’s struggles of late shooting the ball had to factor in the decision as well.
In his last five games, the second-year guard has averaged 2.0 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.0 assists while shooting just 26.7 percent from the field – all below his season average.
“We’ll see,” said Stevens when asked about whether Rozier being held out was a situational matter. “Our bench has to all be ready to play and play well. Nobody deserved to play better today, then Gerald. I think everybody should be happy for him. I thought he gave us a great lift.”
And Stevens knowing when to make that decision speaks not only to his ability to lead this team, but also the pulse he has on what has to be done in order for the Celtics to have the best shot at success.

Horford helps Celtics get back on track

Horford helps Celtics get back on track

Aggressive Al Horford was on the floor Friday night for the Boston Celtics, a good sign for a Celtics team that has been battered by injuries. 

As the oldest member of the team, the 31-year-old’s leadership has to become more example-driven as well as existing in the spoken word.

CELTICS TALK PODCAST  - Smart's importance to C's, dissecting the East

Horford was on point for most of Friday’s 92-83 win over Orlando, a game that was far more lopsided in Boston’s favor than the final score might indicate.

The 6-foot-10 forward/center had a near double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds. 

What was more telling was that Horford took a team-high 18 shots from the field, as clear a sign as you will find that Horford’s mindset on Friday was to attack Orlando’s defense early and often. 

And while it’s true that the Magic are one of the worst teams in the NBA, that doesn’t diminish the way Horford executed the plays called by head coach Brad Stevens as Horford played the role of primary scorer more often than usual, instead of being a major facilitator.

Having missed Boston’s previous two games, Horford was admittedly concerned if the lay-off might affect his conditioning. 

“Wind-wise I felt good,” Horford told reporters after Friday night’s win. “A little rusty on offense. But defensively I felt great. I felt our team came out with energy; just a good win.” 

A win that became a lot easier to get with Aggressive Al on the floor. 

 Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds in Boston’s 92-83 win over Orlando.



Terry Rozier: He continues to provide the Celtics with really solid guard play, with all-star guard Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness) missing. Rozier had a game high-tying 17 points along with seven rebounds and five assists. 

Greg Monroe: The third quarter was when Monroe really began to take over the game. He finished with 17 points, 10 of which came in the third. 

Shelvin Mack: Not a lot to cheer about for Mack and the Magic who once again struggled in so many phases of the game. But Mack still managed to score 16 points. 



Al Horford: Having missed the two previous games, Horford was back in full force on Friday. He had 15 points on 6-for-18 shooting to go with nine rebounds

Boston rebounding: The Celtics control of the glass began from the outset and never really eased up. For the game, Boston grabbed 55 rebounds compared to just 40 by Orlando. 



Fourth-quarter Celtics: The only real blemish on an otherwise impressive performance by Boston, was the team’s overall play in the fourth quarter. Boston was outscored 31-17 and turned the ball over 10 times in the quarter. 


Celtics snap skid with dominant win over Magic, 92-83

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Celtics snap skid with dominant win over Magic, 92-83

The Orlando Magic are one of the few teams already eliminated from playoff contention. 

And on Friday, it didn’t take long to see why.

CELTICS TALK PODCAST - Smart's importance, dissecting the Eastern Conference

The Boston Celtics didn’t waste any time taking control of the game and never letting up as they cruised to a 92-83 win.

Terry Rozier and Greg Monroe led the Celtics with 17 points each and Shelvin Mack had 16 points and seven rebounds for Orlando.  

With the win, the Celtics (47-22) snapped a two-game losing skid and improved their record since returning from the All-Star break to 7-3. 

Getting back on a winning track was just part of Boston’s motivation heading into Friday night’s game. 

With several key players out with injuries, the Celtics’ depth was once again on display from the opening tip to the final horn. 

In the first half, reserve guard Shane Larkin led the team in scoring with 10 points. 

And in the third quarter, backup center Greg Monroe was too much for the Magic to handle around the basket.

In the third, Monroe scored 10 of his 17 points off Boston’s bench. 

This was a game that the Celtics showed few signs of the kind of let-up we have seen them display against bad teams from time to time. 

But Orlando opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run that cut Boston’s lead down to 77-61 with 9:18 to play. 

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens had seen enough and called a time-out. 

Orlando was able to chip away a little more at Boston’s lead which peaked at 24 points but was down to single digits in the fourth which provided a glimmer of hope that maybe just maybe, the Magic could get back in the game.

But when it mattered, Boston made the plays in the game’s closing moments to secure the victory. 

For the Celtics, the goal on Friday night was two-fold: find a way to win and come away healthy. 

Boston found success on both fronts, a refreshing change the Celtics hope to do more of going forward. 

Marcus Smart underwent surgery on his right thumb earlier in the day, which is expected to keep him sidelined for 6-8 weeks which would put his return to the floor at the earliest, sometime near the end of the first round of the playoffs or early into the second. 

Daniel Theis underwent season-ending surgery recently for a meniscus tear in his left knee.

And Boston played without Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness), but he might back in the lineup for Sunday’s game against New Orleans.

Al Horford returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games due to an illness, and he didn’t disappoint in finishing with a near double-double of 15 point and nine rebounds.