No more Mr. Nice Guy for Green

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No more Mr. Nice Guy for Green

MILWAUKEE After Boston's 96-92 win over Milwaukee, Jeff Green sat in his locker stall, sharing a few laughs with teammate Courtney Lee.

There he was, the seemingly always-jovial Jeff Green.

It was in a sense a Jekyll-and-Hyde moment because the happy-go-lucky Jeff Green in the locker room was an absolute monster on the floor just a few minutes prior to that for Boston.

And nobody seemed to relish this fiesty, bad-boy side of Green more than Kevin Garnett.

"Jeff's a really, really nice guy," Garnett said. "Some nights, you just gotta be an asshole."

And the turning point for Green seemed to be an attempted dunk early in the fourth quarter in which he was fouled on the play.

"After the dunk he was aggressive; he was greedy Jeff," said a visibly excited Garnett.

Not only was the 12 points scored by Green a season-high, but it came on a night in which he played with the greatest amount of aggression we've seen from him this season.

Green said his strong play was fueled in large part by the Celtics defense getting multiple stops which allowed the C's to get out in transition.

"I just have to stay aggressive," Green said. "As long as I'm aggressive, that's all that matters. I'm not going to get every call, I'm not going to make every shot. But as long as I stay aggressive, I'll be good."

Green's strong performance on Saturday served as both a reminder of his immense potential in addition to the fact that he's still working his way back into shape - both physically and mentally - after a long layoff.

"I think we forget Jeff sat out a whole year last year," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "And just because he played well in the preseason, it's going to take him time, it's going to take him time to get comfortable."

But the Green on display Saturday was indeed a welcomed sight for Rivers.

"When he plays like that," Rivers said. "We're a better team. He made defensive plays, he got rebounds, committed some hard fouls ... a lot of good things."

And although Green has maintained his confidence has been unaffected by his struggles leading up to Saturday, teammates and coaches are quick to point out how a performance like Saturday's can do nothing but help him going forward.

"That's just what he needed to get his confidence," said Paul Pierce. "Sometimes when a player is struggling a bit, he just needs to see a couple baskets go in the hole, couple guys high-five him, encourage him; that can get you going sometimes."

Khudobin simply ‘has got to be better’ for Bruins

Khudobin simply ‘has got to be better’ for Bruins

BOSTON – There wasn’t much for Anton Khudobin to say after it was all over on Thursday night. 

The B’s backup netminder allowed four goals on 22 shots while looking like he was fighting the puck all night. It was one of the big reasons behind a tired-looking 4-2 loss to the lowly Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

The loss dropped Khudobin to 1-4-0 on the season and puts him at a 3.02 goals-against average and .888 save percentage this season. Three of the four goals beat Khudobin despite him getting a pretty good look at them. The ultimate game-winner in the second period from John Mitchell just beat him cleanly on the short side. 

Matt Duchene beat Khudobin from the slot on a play that was a bad defense/bad goaltending combo platter to start the game and MacKinnon ripped a shorthanded bid past the Bruins netminder to put Boston in a hole against a woeful Colorado team. 

Afterward, Khudobin didn’t have much to say, with just one good performance among five games played for the Black and Gold this season. 

“Four goals is too much. That’s it,” said a to-the-point Khudobin, who was then asked how he felt headed into the game. “I don’t know; too much energy…yeah, too much. I don’t know. I just had a lot of energy and I think it just didn’t work out my way.”

Khudobin didn’t really expand on why he had too much energy, but perhaps it’s because the compacted schedule has really curtailed the team’s ability to hold team practices on a regular basis. Or maybe he was just disappointed it took him a week to get back between the pipes after playing his best game of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Either way Claude Julien said that the Bruins needed better goaltending on a night where they weren’t at their sharpest physically or mentally, and Khudobin clearly wasn’t up to the challenge this time around. 

“We needed some saves tonight and we didn’t get them. He’s got to be better. A lot of things here that we can be better at and take responsibility [for],” said Julien. “But at the same time, you got to move on here. To me it’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, and we would have had a chance. Now we’ve got to move forward.”

Clearly, the Bruins have no choice but to move on with a busy schedule that doesn’t let up anytime soon, but one of the lessons learned from Thursday night is that the Bruins need to get better backup goaltending from a collective crew (Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban included) that’s won just once in eight games behind Tuukka Rask this season. 

Raiders' loss to Chiefs puts Patriots in AFC driver's seat

Raiders' loss to Chiefs puts Patriots in AFC driver's seat

FOXBORO - The Patriots got a desired outcome Thursday night when the Chiefs handed the Raiders their third loss of the season. 

The 21-13 loss dropped Oakland and KC into a tie atop the AFC West at 10-3 but the Chiefs, by virtue of beating Oakland twice this season, have the divisional tiebreaker. Oakland went from the top seed in the AFC to the fifth spot.

More importantly around here, the Patriots now are in position to win out and claim the AFC’s No. 1 seed. 

Prior to the Raiders loss, Oakland would have been the top seed if both they and the Patriots won out.  Now, the 10-2 Patriots have a leg up on the rest of the conference. The Raiders’ road stays tough. They are at San Diego and Denver and host the Colts. 

The Chiefs have a more favorable close to the season with home games against Tennessee and Denver before their season finale at San Diego. 

The Patriots’ road over the final four is no picnic though, beginning with the Ravens and at Denver before the last two hosting the Jets and traveling to Miami.