Celtics' Green, Lee adjusting to reserve roles

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Celtics' Green, Lee adjusting to reserve roles

WALTHAM The bulk of Jeff Green's NBA career has been spent as a starter. Courtney Lee has also spent a decent amount of his career with the first unit of the three NBA teams he played for prior to arriving in Boston.

Both are now key reserves coming off the Celtics' bench. Prominent roles, but different nonetheless.

And they're roles that both players are still adjusting to, which explains to some degree the highs and lows in their play this season.

That said, each is starting to play with more consistency at both ends of the floor, which should reap huge rewards for the C's as the season progresses.

Lee has had just three double-digit scoring games this season, with two coming in the last two games.

Green has also been an impact player off the bench lately for the Celtics, tallying double-digit points in each of the last two games and is now the team's sixth-leading scorer at 8.9 points per game -- and rising.

Of the two players, Green's play has been more notable. Not only for the shear numbers -- 18.5 points per game in last two games -- but also for the fact that they have come in the role the C's envision for him this year: A difference-maker coming off the bench.

"I'm just going with the flow," Green said. "My shot's been dropping. I've been attacking the rim. I just have to continue that."

And Lee has to continue listening to Doc Rivers, who had a talk with him about a week ago.

While Lee was showing signs of being an impact defender that the Celtics are looking for, it appeared to have come at the expense of him contributing offensively.

In talking with Rivers, Lee said he came away with a better understanding that for all the energy and effort he puts into being a difference-maker on defense, he has to put forth that same level of focus and intensity on the offensive end whether he's starting or not.

Even before he replaced Rajon Rondo for the last two games because of Rondo's suspension, there were clear signs that the message was sinking in for Lee, who has been a starter in about 47 percent of the NBA games he has played prior to this season.

As far as whether it's easier to be a starter, Lee said, "You get in the game, you get in the game. You have to make the most of it when you get that opportunity. I'm just going to go out there and focus on the things I've been doing and just stay aggressive."

Bringing forth great effort and intensity is primarily what the Celtics are needing Lee to bring.

With Green, it's a little different.

They want those same things from him as well, but the C's also need him to get buckets.

When he's on the floor, often he's the one Celtic who has a mismatch in the C's favor at the offensive end either as a big small forward or a quick power forward who can also stretch a defense with his 3-point shooting.

His aggressiveness in those roles has often been questioned because far too many times, he tends to disappear when he truly should be dominating his matchup.

Part of his struggles he says in coming off the bench, is figuring out exactly how to be most effective while staying within the framework of what the Celtics are trying to accomplish at that point in the game.

"It's harder to try and figure out what you need to bring each game coming off the bench," said Green, a reserve in all 17 games for the Celtics this year after previously starting 83.5 percent (263 out of 315 games) of his NBA career. "Each game is different. It's tough; it's a transition. Starting is a lot easier. You can work yourself into the game. But when you come off the bench, you have to be prepared. You have to be focused on how the game is going . . . it's tough.

"But you just have to find your niche and figure out what it takes and be prepared before you go out in to the game."

Avery Bradley (Achilles) will not play vs. Knicks

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Avery Bradley (Achilles) will not play vs. Knicks

BOSTON – Both New York and Boston will take to the floor tonight minus a starter courtesy of a sore Achilles injury.

For Celtics guard Avery Bradley, tonight will be the fifth time in the last six games that his right Achilles injury will keep him sidelined.

Meanwhile, New York’s Kristaps Porzingis will miss his fourth straight game with a sore left Achilles injury.

The 7-foot-3 Porzingis averages 19.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

Porzingis’ absence tonight was established well before tip-off.

“I’d say I’m 90 percent ready; still not there yet,” Porzingis told reporters prior to the game. “But I’m getting closer … hopefully the next game or after the next game.”

As far as Bradley is concerned, he was a last-minute matter.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was asked about his roster earlier tonight, and indicated Tyler Zeller (sinus) and James Young (ankle) would be on the inactive list tonight with injuries.

Without Bradley, the Celtics are expected to start Marcus Smart who has filled in as the team’s starter previously when the 6-foot-2 Bradley was unavailable.

 Bradley is the Celtics' second-leading scorer with 17.7 points per game this season, along with a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game and 2.4 assists. 

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

NEW YORK - Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But they received significantly more votes this time and could be in position to gain election in coming years.

Bagwell, on the ballot for the seventh time after falling 15 votes short last year, received 381 of 442 votes for 86.2 percent. Players needed 75 percent, which came to 332 votes this year.

In his 10th and final year of eligibility, Raines was on 380 ballots (86 percent). Rodriguez received 336 votes (76 percent) to join Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers elected on the first ballot.

Hoffman was five votes shy and Guerrero 15 short.

Edgar Martinez was next at 58.6 percent, followed by Clemens at 54.1 percent, Bonds at 53.8 percent, Mike Mussina at 51.8 percent, Curt Schilling at 45 percent, Lee Smith at 34.2 percent and Manny Ramirez at 23.8 percent.

Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta Braves executive John Schuerholz, both elected last month by a veterans committee.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star who spent his entire career with Houston, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs.

Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, and joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Expos.

Raines hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage, playing during a time when Rickey Henderson was the sport's dominant speedster.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, was never disciplined for PEDs but former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged in a 2005 book that he injected the catcher with steroids. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball's 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009: "Only God knows."

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, received 36.2 percent in his initial appearance, in 2013, and jumped from 44.3 percent last year. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, rose from 45.2 percent last year.

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned appeal in 2015.

Clemens was acquitted on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

A 12-time All-Star on the ballot for the first time, Ramirez was twice suspended for violating baseball's drug agreement. He helped the Boston Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and `07, the first for the franchise since 1918, and hit .312 with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs in 19 big league seasons.

Several notable players will join them in the competition for votes in upcoming years: Chipper Jones in 2018, Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020.