Fitting in with Celtics no longer a problem for Green

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Fitting in with Celtics no longer a problem for Green

When Jeff Green arrived in Boston two years ago, the goal was to simply fit in.

It didn't work.

Today, fitting in is no longer an option. Green has the ability to impact games in ways that no backup has been capable of during Doc Rivers' reign.

And with a clean bill of health and a renewed vigor to be aggressive, Green is on track to giving the C's exactly what they are counting on this season.

During Boston's two preseason games in Europe, Green was the most talked-about player (Jared Sullinger was a close second) because of his strong play.

"Jeff is important to us. I try to stress that to him everyday," said C's Rajon Rondo. "I don't want to put too much pressure on him, but he's going to be a key for us this year. He can play the 3 (small forward), he can play the 4 (power forward). And defensively, he has to
be our star. Jeff is capable of checking the 1 (point guard) through the 4. We ask a lot of Jeff. It's a team effort. it's not just going to be Jeff. But he's going to play a key role in our success."

He was especially impressive in leading Boston's second unit, with much of the offense being run through him.

"It feels good. Gotta be a leader, gotta be able to play both ends, lead by example," Green said. "And just learn from the guys ahead of me. There are hall of famers ahead of me, KG (Kevin Garnett), Paul (Pierce), future hall of famer Rondo, the Jet (Jason Terry) ... I have
a lot of people to look up to as far as leadership."

More than anything else, Rivers believes that Green is simply more acclimated to his new teammates, the city of Boston and maybe most important, his role.

"I just think he is a comfortable player," Rivers said. "When he plays with starters, he will be just as effective because he will be the third or fourth guy that they are worried about defensively. When he's with the second unit, he may be the first guy but he's still being
effective."

And an effective Green makes the Celtics a tough team to beat.

"It's a big year as a team," Green said. "We want to win a championship. But it's an important year for all of us to come out and showcase what Celtics basketball is all about."

Thomas on not getting All-Star start: 'It hurts but I’ll be all right’

Thomas on not getting All-Star start: 'It hurts but I’ll be all right’

WALTHAM, Mass. –  Isaiah Thomas stood before the media throng on Friday afternoon at the Celtics’ practice facility and answered all the questions with the usual truthful tone sprinkled with a bit of humor.
 
But you could sense that he was still bitter about the results announced by the NBA on Thursday as to who will be the starters in next month’s All-Star Game.
 
Cleveland’s LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee and Chicago’s Jimmy Butler were the frontcourt starters announced by the league. In the backcourt you will find Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan, who finished in a tie with Thomas in this first season in which fans, media and players all have a say in who will be the game’s starting five, as opposed to past seasons in which the starters were chosen strictly by fans.
 
DeRozan and Thomas finished in a tie under the voting system, but DeRozan moved ahead of Thomas due to a tie-breaker (fan vote), in which DeRozan had about 41,000 more votes than Thomas.
 
“It’s not the end of the world; it’s all good,” said Thomas. “I was disappointed, but those guys deserve it as well. I did everything I could in my control to put myself in position to be a starter. It’s not the end of the world.”
 
Especially knowing that the coaches will vote him on to the team for the second year in a row.
 
But for Thomas to be even in the conversation speaks to how the league’s new system of choosing All-Star starters, makes the whole choosing of starters about more than just a popularity contest, which is the irony of Thomas being left off the starting five – it ultimately came down to DeRozan receiving more votes from fans than Thomas.
 
“I didn’t really look at it. I didn’t look at what the reason was, but it is what it is,” Thomas said. “I’ll use it as motivation. I have to get better. That’s all I took out of that. I’m not where I want to be.”
 
Thomas finished fourth in fan voting for the starting nod, but was second among players and first among Eastern Conference guards among the media.
 
“I appreciate everybody who voted for me, especially you [media] guys,” Thomas said. “The media showed me some love and then my peers showed me love too.”
 
But as far as coming so close to being an All-Star starter and not making it, Thomas said, “It hurts but I’ll be alright. I’ll use it as motivation and keep going.”
 
Thomas is having a banner season that has elevated his name and game into the conversation for the league’s MVP award that so far is being led by Houston’s James Harden and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook.
 
He averages 28.7 points per game, which is tops among Eastern Conference players and fourth overall. 

Among his more notable accomplishments this season, he scored a franchise-record 29 points in the fourth quarter of a win over Miami, and in the same game, wound up scoring a career-high 52 points.
 
Thomas isn’t the only NBA player who has had a season that most would believe would result in him being an All-Star starter.
 
“You look in the west, [Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook] averages a triple-double and he didn’t get in [to start],” Thomas said. “I guess…I’ll let everybody debate for me and argue for me. Those guys that made it who start, they deserved it.”
 

NBA reaches seven-year labor agreement with players' union

NBA reaches seven-year labor agreement with players' union

When was the last time you saw any labor contract — not just the NBA, not just pro sports, but in any business — get done before either side could opt-out, let alone the actual deadline?

That’s what happened with the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The teams had until Dec. 15 of last year to opt out, with the real deadline for a new deal being July 1 of this year. Yet the two sides reached a deal before either side even opted out.

Thursday the NBA and National Basketball Players’ Association announced that the new CBA had been signed. It’s a seven-year deal that kicks in July 1.

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