Green turning a corner lately for Celtics

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Green turning a corner lately for Celtics

BOSTON Jeff Green's rise into an impact player off the Celtics bench has been undeniable.

He's scoring. In most games, he's rebounding. He's defending at a high level.

It appears Green has finally removed the biggest obstacle in his path towards strong play -- himself. Green is playing with the kind of free-flowing style that is starting to make that four-year, 36 million contract he signed with the Celtics in the summer look more and more like a bargain.

And C's head coach Doc Rivers is quick to acknowledge that he's not doing anything scheme-wise to free Green up any more now than earlier.

"I think Jeff is just freeing himself up," Rivers said. "He's starting to do it and it's really been good."

In Boston's last five games, Green has easily set himself apart from the rest of the Celtics backups. During that span he has scored in double figures four times while averaging 16 points and 4.2 rebounds along with shooting 54.4 percent from the field.

In the 15 games prior to that, Green averaged 7.7 points, 2.5 rebounds while shooting just 40 percent from the field.

"Jeff has just elevated his game the last couple of games, playing hard and just going at it," Celtics big man Chris Wilcox told CSNNE.com. "I was waiting to see this part of him."

So was the rest of Celtics Nation.

"I just went through a slump," Green said. "Every player goes through one. Now shots are going in for me; things are turning the corner."

And Green's play is beginning to turn heads, especially his above-the-rim game.

In Boston's 92-79 win over Philadelphia on Saturday, Green had a pair of dunks including an alley-oop from Rajon Rondo in the fourth quarter that put the Celtics ahead, 81-63 with 7:44 to play.

"I'm getting there. My bounce is getting there," Green said. "It's been a slow process but it's coming along."

Acciari nearing a return for Bruins after missing a month

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Acciari nearing a return for Bruins after missing a month

BRIGHTON, Mass. – He hasn’t been cleared to play just yet, but fourth line energy guy Noel Acciari is closing in on a return to the Bruins lineup. 

Acciari joined in for a Bruins morning skate for the first time in 14 games at the end of last week, and practiced with the team again Monday for a morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena. The 25-year-old has missed almost exactly a month with a lower body injury, and said he can thankfully now see the light at the end of the injury tunnel for a healthy return to the B’s lineup. 

“It was getting lonely with all the guys on the road, and with me just skating with Frankie [Vatrano] and Zee [Chara],” said Acciari. “It’s great to be back out there with the guys, and it’s good to be back. Each skate I feel a lot better out there and just trying to get my conditioning back. Just being back with the guys is a great feeling, and it’s a big help.”

The fourth line has been okay in Acciari’s absence, but it seemed to be lacking the same kind of energy and hard edge the Providence College standout provided when he was healthy. That was part of what led the B’s to call up the similarly rugged Anton Blidh from Providence at the end of last week, and could provide some interesting energy line options when Acciari is ready to return. 

“I’ve played with [Blidh] before, I’m used to him and I know what he brings to the table just like he knows what I can do,” said Acciari. “So it would work out well [if we played together] I think.”

Acciari has two assists and a plus-1 rating along with four penalty minutes while averaging 10:01 of ice time in 12 games this season, and proved to be very good at unnerving opponents simply by playing all-out all the time.