BOSTON — The more Jeff Green develops into a take-over-the-game kind of player, the more he'll see defenses switch up their coverages.
So when teams try to take away his favorite move -- going right while riving to the basket -- he's switched things up and attacked teams driving to his left.
And now when teams try to take away his driving lanes altogether, Green is hitting them with an elbow jumper.
Slowly but surely, Green is developing the kind of complete offensive package that is only going to give more and more teams problems in the future.
It certainly did for the Detroit Pistons, who had no answer for Green and his game-high 34 points as Boston held on for a 98-93 win.
"I just think he's been aggressive," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said of Green. "He's become more efficient."
And effective in multiple phases of play.
In addition to his 34 points, Green also grabbed six rebounds and had four blocked shots.
But it was hard to ignore the points generated by Green, especially with many of them coming from the elbow.
"Early in his career, even most of this year, basically he was either the corners or to the basket," Rivers said. "And now he's starting to make those shots on the elbows, which have been very good for us."
"It's something I have to have in my game," said Green. "It's going to open up the lane a lot more now. Teams have to come out, if I keep shooting the way I am. That's going to open up the lane and I can continue to get to the basket and the free throw line. It's something I just had to add."
And it's adding up to the kind of offensive production that, when Kevin Garnett (inflammation, left foot) returns to the lineup, will make the C's a much tougher team to contend with defensively.
"You know Jeff's a very, very good player," said Pistons coach and former Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank. "And I think what you've seen, he got off to a tough start this year an obviously he had major, major life threatening surgery last year. Jeff is a high-character guy, so you kind of always like -- well I didn't like to see him do well tonight -- but by and large, every other game you pull for him, especially with what he went through."
Green underwent heart surgery on Jan. 9, 2012 that sidelined him for the entire 2011-2012 season.
Although he was inconsistent the first few months of this season upon his return, Green has been a steady performer of late.
Prior to Wednesday's 34-point performance against Detroit, Green averaged 20.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists in Boston's previous five games.
"He's a versatile player," said Pistons forward and former UConn standout Charlie Villanueva. "He can do a little bit of everything -- post up, he's very agile; he's quick. He's a good player."
Green's play has taken some of the offensive pressure off of Paul Pierce, who had 17 points on Wednesday.
"A lot of teams come into this game really focused on what I'm trying to do and the scouting report," Pierce said. "And you've got a guy like Jeff who can put big numbers like that, who can take over like that. It's fun to watch and be a part of."