Camerato: Gerald Green will never enter dunk contest again

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Camerato: Gerald Green will never enter dunk contest again

BOSTON -- Gerald Green's story is different this time around.

After years of returning to the TD Garden as "the guy trying to stick with a team" or "the first round pick attempting make it back to the NBA," the former Celtic came to Boston on Friday as a focused 26-year-old putting down roots with the Indiana Pacers.

He wants the new chapter of his career to be free of the slam-dunking stigma he earned in his earlier years. Green says he will never enter the NBA Dunk Contest again.

"No, I don't want to," he told CSNNE.com. "I don't like that name. I want to be known for something else. I know I can never take that title away, but I don't like it. I don't want to do it."

Green entered the league as a high flyer in 2005 and won the Dunk Contest in his sophomore season. The following year, he pulled off two athletic dunks with high degrees of difficulty but got lost in the shadows of Dwight Howard's "Superman" dunk. Looking back, he believes the contest was based more on show than skill.

"I was disappointed because I felt like I should have won it," he said. "I feel like it was all Dwight. His was more of a show, mine was more difficulty. He had some difficult dunks too, but try putting a candle on a cupcake on the top of a rim and blowing it out, and then dunking. Try taking your shoes off and going between your legs and dunking like that. He got the crowd into it, I didn't know that.

"That changed the whole dunk contest. At first, it wasn't about being a show. It was about who can do the most difficult dunk you've never seen before. The dunk that Dwight did, many people did that before. But people had never seen anyone come out like they're Superman and put a show on. So now you see Nate Robinson, next year he was kryptonite and you see Blake Griffin doing all that. Now it's just a show instead of difficulty. That's why I don't want to get into it. I can't put on a show."

Green continued, "I still would have done the same thing. I grew up watching VInce Carter. He didn't put on shows. He did dunks he felt like were going to be really difficult, like put his elbow in the rim. It didn't even look that good because people didn't know what he had done, until they realized, that dude has put his whole arm in the rim. That's ridiculous. It wasn't about, let me dress up as a raptor and dunk the ball."

Green admits the contest has crossed his mind, with All-Star Weekend coming up in his hometown of Houston, Texas. But those moments are short-lived. After playing for the Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, New Jersey Nets, and questioning his career while hooping overseas, Green wants to stick with the Pacers. He has only returned for a second season with one team (the Celtics) and hopes to establish himself in Indiana.

He is all for dunking in a game -- "I'd rather catch alley oops than blowout cupcake dunks," he said -- but his main focus is becoming the best overall player he can.

How serious is he? What if, hypothetically, the contest was league mandated?

"I would take a fine," he said. "I'll take a fine. That's not me anymore. I don't want to do it."

Don't expect to see Celtics shy away from 3-pointers

Don't expect to see Celtics shy away from 3-pointers

BOSTON – There were a bunch of numbers from Boston’s 121-114 loss to Detroit on Wednesday that stood out. 

Among the eye-grabbing stats was the fact that the Celtics had taken 42 3s (with 15 makes), an unusually high number of attempts that we may see matched or even surpassed tonight against the Sacramento Kings. 

Don’t count head coach Brad Stevens among those surprised to see the Celtics attempt a lot of three-pointers. 

Last season the Celtics took 26.1 three-pointers per game which ranked 11th in the NBA. 

This season they’re up to 31.2 three-pointers attempted and 11.3 made which both rank fifth in the NBA. 

You can count Kelly Olynyk among the Celtics pleased with the team's increased emphasis on shooting 3s. 

The 7-foot led the NBA in shooting percentage (.405) on 3s taken last season.

"We play a lot of spread offense with four shooters, four perimeter guys," Olynyk, who is shooting 38.1 percent on 3s this season, told CSNNE.com. "We're trying to make teams shrink their defense and spray out and hopefully make shots. You're making extra passes, giving up good ones for great ones. And we have some pretty good shooters on our team. That's the way we're trying to play. It's just a matter of us making shots."

And the Celtics face a Kings team ranks among the NBA’s worst at limiting 3-point attempts with Sacramento opponents averaging 28.4 three-pointers taken per game which ranks 25th in the league. 

One of Stevens’ main points about three-pointers is while it’s an important shot for them, they need to be the right shot, the right basketball play at the right time. 

And when asked about the 42 attempts against the Pistons, he was quick to acknowledge those were for the most part the right shots to be taken. 

“They are,” Stevens said. “At the end of the day we want lay-ups. And if we don’t get layups, we want the floor to be shrunk. If the defense shrinks in, you’re able to touch the paint and kick out. Two of our last three games, maybe three of the last four, two-thirds of our possessions we touched the paint or shrunk the defense with a roll. That’s our objective. We’re not a team that gets to the foul line a lot. We’re not a team that rebounds at a high rate. And we haven’t scored in transition. To be able to be sitting where we are offensively, a big reason is because we space the floor.”

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

BOSTON – No one is proclaiming DeMarcus Cousins’ demeanor is all that radically different than past seasons. 

But the volatile nature that has often overshadowed his on-the-court-brilliance, doesn’t seem to shine as brightly as it used to. 

Maybe he’s growing up. 

Maybe he’s finally comfortable with his team. 

And then there’s the almighty dollar which was the incentive for one of his teammates, Matt Barnes, to clean up his act as far as racking up technical fouls and being fined by the league. 

I asked Barnes whether there was a light bulb moment or a teammate or player that helped him get on track and not draw so much attention from officials and the league office. 

“It was all the money I was being fined,” he said. “I think I lost like $600,000 over my career for fines. It was time to kind of wake and say ‘hey, they don’t like you so you have to stick to the book.’”

With Barnes returning to Sacramento (he played for the Kings during the 2004-2005 season), he finds an intense, kindred spirit of sorts in Cousins who like Barnes has had his share of technical and fines handed down by the league office. 

This season, Cousins is the NBA’s leader in technical fouls with six. 

“I’ve always had a good head on my shoulders,” Barnes said. “I’m just a passionate player. I play with my emotion on my sleeve. I think DeMarcus does the same thing. What I’m trying to show him now, we have to keep our emotions and energy focused towards the right things. That could be detrimental to the team if it gets out of hand.”

First-year coach Dave Joerger has been pleased to see how different Cousins is to be around on a daily basis as opposed to how he’s perceived. 

“He gets credit for his talent. He gets credit that he’s improved in the league,” Joerger said. “I think he doesn’t get enough credit for the way that his approach to the game and the way that he’s carrying himself and conducting himself has greatly improved. He’s a good person. Now being with him, I see improvement over the last three years, the way that he goes about his business. I think that’s very positive.”