Celtics

Green adjusting to new role with Celtics

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Green adjusting to new role with Celtics

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

NEW YORK The Boston Celtics have been a team that thrives off emotion.

Some teams wear it on their sleeve.

For the Celtics, it's more like a body cast.

So when someone comes along who doesn't seem to quite fit in, emotionally speaking, well, it's noticeable.

That's why the play of Jeff Green, maybe more than any of the new guys, has come under such scrutiny.

He has had games in which he played well.

He has had others when he struggled.

And yet when you watch him on the court or listen to him afterward, you'd hardly know the difference.

The fact that the Celtics' second unit has struggled in the playoffs hasn't helped matters.

However, it's clear that Green is improving as the C's continue their march toward Banner 18.

They can officially clear the first hurdle on Sunday as they try to sweep the New York Knicks out of the playoffs.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers has heard the many questions and concerns about Green and whether he's fitting in well with the Celtics since they acquired him and Nenad Krstic from Oklahoma City for Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson, on Feb. 24.

While all would agree it hasn't been a smooth transition, there are signs that Green is starting to get a better handle on his role as a backup compared to being a starter for the Thunder.

"I think it's hard for him (Green) because he's never not started," Rivers said. "I also think it's a little more difficult because it's the first time since college when he comes on the floor at times, he is the go-to guy. He's been in the NBA playing with those other two guys (Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook) a lot. So, it'll change. It'll be better."

After scoring four points in Game 1, he was up to six in Game 2 and had nine in Game 3.

Defensively, he's starting to figure out how to better compete with Carmelo Anthony.

That could come in handy when you consider the Celtics, if they do eliminate the Knicks, are likely to face the Miami Heat and LeBron James in the next round.

"He's coming," Rivers said of Green. "You can see it. He's playing with a different level of energy."

Rivers is basing that on his play, not his personality.

"Jeff is a poker face guy," Rivers said. "You can never read into that. I think people are reading way too much into that stuff. Jeff may hit the game-winner in Game 7 of the NBA championship, and walk off the floor. But inside, he's probably having a party. You just may not see it."

While it's true that Green isn't an overly emotional guy, even he admits that he has to play with more fire.

More than anything else, Green is learning on the fly what it's like to be part of a team where competing for a championship isn't just a goal - it's practically a mandate for this team.

"Every practice, everything we do is championship level," Green said in a recent interview. "It took some getting used to, because I haven't been there and I haven't experienced it. That's where I want to be. I just have to find a way to get to that point. By me not experiencing that, I have to find a way to get there."

And the Celtics have no doubt that he'll make it - even if you don't see it on his face a la Kevin Garnett.

"I'm not Kevin who is expressive," Green said. "I just have to find it within myself to get my motor revved. It's just something I have to do, something I have to focus on, no matter how many minutes I play. I have to get it done."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Celtics continue comeback narrative with win vs. Hawks

Celtics continue comeback narrative with win vs. Hawks

The Boston Celtics trail by double digits. The Celtics rally to make it relatively close by halftime. Boston continues to gain ground in the third, pull it out in the fourth.

Rinse. Recycle. Repeat.

That has been the Celtics’ mantra this season, with the latest chapter in their comeback narrative being a 110-99 win at Atlanta.

“We need to put an emphasis on playing with space and getting the ball to the other side of the floor,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “It just stuck too much early on. We were staring at some post-ups that if we got it to the other side, maybe you could take advantage of.”

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Boston (15-2) fell behind by as many as 16 points against the Hawks (3-13), the second straight game the Celtics have rallied from a double-digit deficit.

In Boston’s 92-88 win over Golden State on Thursday, the Celtics fell behind by as many as 17 before rallying for their most impressive win of the season.

That said, it still shouldn’t take away from what happened on Saturday against an Atlanta team that despite their record, has shown signs of playing better in their recent games.

Players are aware of the penchant they’ve shown thus far for falling behind only to mount a furious comeback for the win.

“We don’t try to (go down early),” said Kyrie Irving following Saturday’s win which extended their winning streak to 15 straight which is the fifth-longest streak in franchise history. “Some teams, they go on runs and whether that be us giving up some easy ones or giving up some turnovers or doing things we can correct. When we do correct them, it turns into a different game.”

And that is what makes this stretch of play so impressive.

The Celtics have not played a full game; instead they have had stretches of good play that have often masked their mistakes early in the game.

That’s why head coach Brad Stevens, obviously pleased with the team’s success, knows as well as anyone that his team has to become more consistent in their play if they are to get the most out of these wins and continue to build off of them and achieve their ultimate goal – getting back to the NBA Finals.

“We’re going to keep playing,” Stevens said. “But the biggest thing is, we can’t keep digging these holes.”

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Stars, studs and duds: No lack of confidence for Brown

Stars, studs and duds: No lack of confidence for Brown

When it comes to the top backcourts in the NBA, you seldom hear about Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown.

That may soon be changing if they have more games like the one they delivered on Saturday as Boston put together a solid second half to pull away from the Atlanta Hawks, 110-99.

Irving had a game-high 30 points which was his second game with at least 30 points scored – both against Atlanta.

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And Brown, who had a strong 22-point performance in Boston’s win over Golden State on Thursday, was even better against the Hawks in tallying a career-high 27 points.

We all know about Irving who has established himself as one of the NBA’s top guards.

But is Brown on the way?

One thing Brown won’t have to develop going forward is, confidence.

He has long maintained that he believes he’ll be among the best in the league. It’s just a matter of him performing at a high level at both ends of the floor, consistently.

“I’ve always had that confidence, I can play with the best in the world,” Brown told NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin following the win over Atlanta which extended Boston’s winning streak to 15 in a row. “It’s just a matter of coming out, doing it. My teammates found me tonight. We had a good team win tonight.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 110-99 win at Atlanta which extended the Celtics’ winning streak to 15 in a row which is the fifth-longest winning streak in franchise history.

 

STARS

Jaylen Brown

Back in his home state of Georgia, Jaylen Brown delivered another monster game for the Celtics by scoring a career-high 27 points on 10-for-13 shooting with four 3-pointers.

Kyrie Irving

Irving had his most efficient game this season for the Celtics, tallying 30 points on 10-for-12 shooting to go with four rebounds and five assists.

Dennis Schroder

Atlanta’s best scorer delivering a strong 23-point, 9-assist performance for the Hawks.

 

STUDS

Jayson Tatum

He only had 14 points, but they all came in the third quarter and they included a few crowd-quieting dunks.

John Collins

He came into the league with the reputation of being a high motor player, and he has not disappointed. His hustle and energy led to him tallying 18 points and seven rebounds.

Marcus Morris

When the offense struggled mightily in the first half, it was Morris’ scoring that kept them within striking distance. He finished with 14 points, 10 of which came in the second quarter.

Kent Bazemore

He was Atlanta’s number two scoring option most of the night, and finished with 19 points.

 

DUDS

Boston’s first quarter defense

The Celtics can’t keep digging themselves these early holes, expecting they will turn it on and find a way to climb out of them. The Hawks led 35-20, fueled in large part by shooting 64.7 percent (11-for-17) in addition to out-rebounding Boston 8-6.

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