Green 'blessed' to play with Celtics this season

Green 'blessed' to play with Celtics this season
April 18, 2013, 2:30 am
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TORONTO — Just being able to return to the floor was Jeff Green's primary goal this season.

Considering he missed all of last year after being diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm, that seemed a bit of a stretch, to say the least.

But as the Celtics suited up for one game after another, there was Green, ready to play.

And while his performance level wasn't always up to his standards, or those of the Celtics, the fact that he was available was in itself a victory.

So while there was some disappointment among the Celtics following their 114-90 loss at Toronto on Wednesday night, seeing Green take to the floor -- as he has done every game this season -- was one of the few bright bspots in an otherwise dismal night.

"I'm truly blessed," said Green, who had nine points on Wednesday. "To come back and play every game, play the way I did, [getting] better as the year went along, that's all I wanted."

Prior to the All-Star break, Green averaged 10.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in 24.6 minutes.

After the All-Star break, Green has stepped it up in just about every phase of the game.

Following the break, Green has averaged 17.3 points along with grabbing five rebounds in 33.5 minutes while shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 43.9 percent on 3s.

Green's improved play is one of the reasons the Celtics are confident they can pull off an upset in the postseason and take down the No. 2 seed New York Knicks in their best-of-seven series, which begins on Saturday.

"It's getting there," Green said of his game. "It's getting there. I'm just happy to be at this point and to say that I finished the season strong."

One of Green's closest friends on the Celtics roster is Avery Bradley, who has knows better than most how hard Green has worked to return to the floor and be available for all 81 games. (Tuesday's game against Indiana was canceled after the Boston Marathon explosions on Monday, and was not rescheduled.)

"We're all a family, but he's like a brother to me," Bradley said. "To see everything that he's been through and to be able to overcome everything, the season that he's had this year, it's amazing."

Green finished the season averaging 12.8 points per game while shooting 46.7 percent from the field and 38.5 percent on 3s.

Those are decent numbers.

But he's shown the ability to do more -- much more.

And with the knowledge that he will be at his peak or near-peak level to perform next season, Green and the Celtics have plenty of reasons to believe that his play up to this point was just the beginning of what's shaping up to be a bright and promising career.

"I want to get better at everything," Green said. "There's not one thing in my game that I'm content with. A lot of things in my game I want to get stronger at, I want to get better at."