Green machine: Celtics' Jeff Green showcases talent

Green machine: Celtics' Jeff Green showcases talent
March 19, 2013, 2:45 am
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BOSTON — As Jeff Green made his way back to his locker stall following Monday night's loss to Miami, there was a noticeable cut on the back of his left arm.

But it didn't seem to bother him at all.

Come to think of it, there wasn't much that seemed to faze Green Monday night as he delivered one of the best games by a Celtics player this season with a career-high 43 points.

But Green's offensive explosion still wasn't enough to derail the Miami Heat as they edged the C's 105-103 following a jumper by LeBron James over Green with 10.5 seconds to play.

Even though the C's came up short, all the talk following the game was about Green and the monster game he delivered for the Celtics while filling in as a starter for Kevin Garnett (flu, left adductor strain).

"Jeff was terrific," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "He played well the entire night."

That is, for the 40-plus minutes he logged.

More noticeable was what happened when Green was not on the floor.

In the fourth quarter, Boston had pushed its lead to as many as 10 points. It was also around that time that Celtics coach Doc Rivers took Green out of the game.

At that point, Green had already logged more than 36 minutes. So for Rivers, giving him a chance to rest with a double-digit lead didn't seem like it would be an issue.

"He asked for a blow, so we gave him one,"  Rivers said.

But in the four minutes or so Green was on the bench in the fourth quarter, the Celtics' double-digit lead was essentially wiped out with Green not re-entering the game until there was 3:25 to play.

By the time Green returned, the Heat was increasingly active at both ends of the floor.

After the loss, Green acknowledged that he asked to be taken out of the game to catch his breath.

"Yeah, I was tired," Green said. "I was guarding one of the best players on the floor. You know, I played basically the whole game. But I mean, we still had a chance to win."

And Green's play had a lot to do with that success.

The 6-foot-9 forward showcased the all-around versatility that has been on display in flashes all season.

But on Monday, it was present from the very beginning until the bittersweet end of the game.

"He (Green) was locked in. He's a very good player," said Miami's Dwyane Wade. "He just came out very aggressive and they had to have somebody score a lot of points."

And it is those two latter points - being aggressive and scoring - that have been part of the frustration with Green.

There isn't a more versatile player on the Celtics roster than Jeff Green, a fact that's not lost on him. But finding a way to bring that kind of intensity and play to the floor every night, that should be a breeze you would think for Green, right?

It's certainly starting to look that way.

Rivers loves the way Green didn't let a rocky start throw his entire game off.

"You know what I loved about Jeff," Rivers said. "I thought the first two minutes of the game, three minutes of the game, he was struggling. He missed a free throw, missed a couple shots. And you know the old Jeff might have gone away."

Judging by how easily the game came to Green on Monday, it should come as no surprise if the aggressive, attacking Green that had Celtics fans chanting, "Jeff-Green, Jeff-Green!" during the game, decides to stick around for a while.

"Every game's a new game, every team is different," Green said. "You've got to find different ways to attack. You've got to find different ways to help your team."