BOSTON -- Jeff Green started the day questionable to play in Friday night's game against the
Portland Trail Blazers. By the end of the fourth quarter, he was the Boston Celtics leading scorer.
Green suffered a sprained right knee on Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets and didn't make the decision to play until after pregame warmups. "I've just got to play through the soreness and pain and go out there and play hard," he said prior to game time. He delivered. Green scored a season-high 19 points (6-13 FG, 5-5 FT, 2-4 3PG) along with four steals, three rebounds, and two assists in only 23 minutes off the bench.
"Jeff is running the break, getting easy opportunities for himself," said Paul Pierce. "Hes one of the fastest guys out there."
The Celtics have looked for Green to be aggressive on a consistent basis. He has played just 16 games since season-ending heart surgery last January, averaging 8.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 22 minutes, and is still working to establish his role on the team.
One game, it was great," said head coach Doc Rivers. "What were trying to get him to see is
when hes at the three, hes a power player; when hes at the four, hes a speed player. Thats
how he has to look at himself. Our guys did a good job of getting him the ball as well.
Last Friday Green scored 17 points against his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. The
Celtics aren't looking for him to drop close to 20 points a game, but they would like to see him continue to bring that intensity game in and game out.
"I got to the line, attacked the rim, just being aggressive," Green said. "When you get easy
layups, get to the free throw line, it creates some rhythm. So that's what I did. I tried to continue and my teammates found me on a couple of the plays."
The Celtics will continue to encourage Green and get him his shots. After signing a four-year deal this offseason, he is a key component to their roster. Both his teammates and Green himself want to see him thrive on the Celtics.
"Jeff's a real, real talented player and we've just got to continue to promote him," said Kevin
Garnett. "Being a teammate, I'll support him in everything he's doing. Nights when he's not having it, try to get him easy baskets. Some nights we aren't going to have it going, but as a unit we're out there to make it easy on each other, so Jeff's no different."
As for his knee, Green said it "felt good" after loosening it on the exercise bike prior to the game. He plans to play Saturday against the Milwaukee Bucks.