Green appears to have found his way

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Green appears to have found his way

NEWARK, N.J. Gerald Green saunters into the New Jersey Nets locker room, squeezing his svelte, muscular frame in between teammates Shelden Williams and Jordan Williams.

The image is a fitting one for Green, who has indeed carved out a spot for himself inside a Nets locker room that's likely to look radically different a year from now.

To see him in any NBA locker room, regardless of how good or bad they are, is a major step forward for a ridiculously gifted athletic wing man who has been out of the NBA for three years.

Unless you were around him when he arrived like a bolt of lightning straight out of high school, you can't possibly understand or appreciate how far he has come.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers can.

"I am so proud of him; about as proud of him as I am of any guy," Rivers said. "He just needed time to grow up; not just as a player. I thought he was a pretty good player when he walked into the league. He had a lot to work on basketball-wise, but he just had to figure out things in life."

Part of figuring out life is to make mistakes, but gain enough wisdom not to repeat them.

Green admits when he came into the NBA, he was hard-headed and didn't latch on to the lessons that Rivers wanted to teach him.

So the C's cut him loose, a similar fate that would follow him with short-lived stints in Dallas, Minnesota and Houston.

When the Celtics played the Nets earlier this year in Boston, Rivers had a chance to sit down and talk with Green.

"The first thing he told me is, 'if I would have listened to all the things you and your staff was telling me and put it into play, I would probably still be here,'" Rivers recalled.

Rivers, always one with a quick-witted response, told him, "'no, we would have traded you. We needed to get Kevin and those guys.' Having said that, he'd probably be an all-star already and I hope someday he is."

If it were to happen, Green would love for it to be as a New Jersey Net.

He certainly delivered a solid performance in Boston's 94-82 win over New Jersey, as he led the Nets with 15 points off the bench.

"The Nets gave me the opportunity of a lifetime," Green said. "I really can't thank the Nets enough for how much they've done for me, as far as giving me an opportunity and signing me for the rest of the year; giving me my first shot in three years that I've been dying to have. If it wasn't for this organization, I probably wouldn't be here here doing this interview with you."

And this summer, Green's play has catapulted into the being one of the more sought-after free agents.

He wouldn't rule out a return to Boston, but it's clear that his preference - for now at least - is returning to New Jersey.

"This is my home," Green said. "They're the ones that got me out of the dumpster. So I'm not really trying to go anywhere. I'm not I'm not thinking about that. I'm thinking about finishing out the season with the Nets and be back here next year."

Whether he's with Boston, New Jersey or another team, Rivers enjoys the fact that Green appears to have finally found his way.

"The great thing about Gerald is he was never a bad kid," Rivers said. "We had a bad team back then; we didn't have bad kids. We just had a lot of kids. It's good from a coaching standpoint when you see any of them do well, but Gerald in particular because he was a good kid. He just needed to open himself up and let people in. I think he's done that."

Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz in 'attack mode'

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Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz in 'attack mode'

CHICAGO -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 5-2 win over the White Sox:

 

QUOTES

"I think the most encouraging thing was after a couple of hard-hit balls early on, he was still in attack mode.'' - John Farrell on Clay Buchholz.

"The biggest thing centers around his fastball. First inning, he might have been up a little bit. But after that, he was down in the zone and the curveball was a good compliment to that.'' - Farrell.

"Man, I tell you what -- he does it in such big moments.'' - Farrell on David Ortiz.

"If you could paint a picture, I think tonight would be just about what everybody would want to do.'' - Buchholz on his outing.

"I think everybody would be lying if they said they didn't see your numbers; you see them every day. (Being) 0-3 with a six-something (ERA) is obviously not where you want to be.'' - Buchholz.

"Hopefully, this is the start of something good coming out of him.'' - Ortiz on Buchholz.

"You feel like the luckiest man on planet earth - finally hitting the ball where no one's at!'' - Ortiz on beating the shift with a single through the shortstop hole in the seventh

 

NOTES

* When the Red Sox homer, they're 11-6.

* Clay Buchholz's win was his first since last July 10.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

* Mookie Betts has scored at least one run in 10 of his last 14 games.

* David Ortiz is now one homer from tying Carl Yastrzemski for second-most homers in franchise history at 452.

* Ortiz tied Gary Sheffield for 25th place all-time in homers with 509.

 

STARS

1) Clay Buchholz

After five straight poor outings, Buchholz turned in a gem, giving up two runs in the first, then nothing else for the next six innings.

2) David Ortiz

As he so often does, Ortiz delivered when the Red Sox needed him most, clocking a two-run homer in the fifth to turn a one-run deficit into a two-run lead.

3) Jose Abreu

The White Sox slugger belted a two-run homer in the first to give him five RBI in the two games in this series.

 

First impressions: Buchholz finishes strong vs. White Sox

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First impressions: Buchholz finishes strong vs. White Sox

CHICAGO - First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-2 win over the White Sox.

 

If this was some sort of must-win proposition for Clay Buchholz, he passed his test.

Buchholz found himself behind 2-0 just three batters in when he allowed a two-run homer to Jose Abreu, but he righted himself nicely after that.

Buchholz pitched seven innings and didn't allow another run. In fact, Buchholz only yielded two more hits after the first - both singles.

John Farrell said he wanted to see Buchholz attack the strike zone with his fastball, pitch with a quicker tempo and not rely so much on his secondary stuff. To varying degrees, Buchholz accomplished all three and finished strong - retiring the last 10 hitters in a row and 16 of the last 17.

 

Josh Rutledge had a nice night off the bench.

Rutledge was a last-minute addition to the lineup when Hanley Ramirez was scratched with the flu and Travis Shaw was shifted from third base to first base.

Rutledge reached base three times with two singles and a walk. One of the singles drove in the fourth run, scoring Chris Young with an important insurance run.

 

David Ortiz broke out of his U.S. Cellular slump in a big way.

Coming into the game, Ortiz was hitless here in his last 19 at-bats and when he hit into a double play in the first and flied to center in the third, that stretched to 0-for-21. Since the start of 2014, those first two at-bats made Ortiz 1-for-26.

But in the fifth, Ortiz hammered a pitch from Carlos Rodon into the seats in right for a two-run homer, giving the Red Sox their first lead of the series.

For all the talk about Ortiz's difficulty hitting lefties, he's now third among lefty batters in homers off lefthanded pitchers since last July 2.

 

The home run power continues to be in short supply beyond Ortiz.

Last season, the Red Sox didn't have anyone hit 20 homers other than the (then) 39-year-old Ortiz.

Might the same thing happen again this year?

Ortiz hit his sixth homer last night, again leading the club. Mookie Betts is the only other hitter on the Sox with more than three homers -- and he hasn't hit one in his last 58 at-bats, dating back a week and a half.