Green looks ahead to return to Oklahoma City

Green looks ahead to return to Oklahoma City
March 9, 2013, 1:15 pm
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BOSTON -- The trade happened more than two years ago. Since then Kendrick Perkins has already returned to the TD Garden twice as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He has been recognized with a video tribute and Boston Celtics fans have made it clear he will always have a special place in their basketball hearts.

Jeff Green hasn't experienced that yet. On Sunday, he will.

Green has not played in the Chesapeake Energy Arena since being dealt on February 24, 2011. By that time, the Celtics had already made their regular season game to Oklahoma City. The following year he was sidelined by season-ending heart surgery.

As Green looks ahead to his return, he is putting team basketball ahead of any personal emotions.

"It's my first time back. Everybody's going to make a big deal about it, but it's just another game we have to win," he said matter-of-factly.

Green played more than three seasons for the Thunder (including his rookie year in which they were the Seattle SuperSonics). He developed close ties with his former teammates, many that he still maintains years later, and appreciates the time he spent in Oklahoma City. On this trip, though, his focus will be sending another win back to the city of Boston.

"(Oklahoma City is) a special place, it's where I started my career," he said. "But then again, I'm a guy who moves on. This (Boston) is my city now. This is where I play. This is where I live. Thoughts and flashbacks will come back, but when it's all said and done, I'm there to play basketball."

The Celtics (34-27) will head to Oklahoma City riding the momentum of a five-game winning streak. Green is averaging 12.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.0 assists during that span. On Wednesday, he scored the game-winning bucket in a comeback win over the Indiana Pacers.

The Thunder (46-16) are on a four-game winning streak of their own and will be ready for a battle on their home court, where they are 27-4 this season.

"As a team, we're doing what we've got to do to get wins," said Green. "But this is a different team. They're playing at a great level right now, (they have) one of the best scorers in the league in Kevin Durant, so we've got to make sure we're ready."