Green showing consistency C's need

Green showing consistency C's need
December 5, 2013, 5:00 pm
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WALTHAM, Mass. — All the talk about Jared Sullinger's play and Brandon Bass' defense and Jordan Crawford's playmaking has overshadowed one of the most important develops for the Celtics - the consistency of Jeff Green.

The 6-foot-9 forward, often criticized for dominating one night and disappearing the next, has been playing some of his most consistent basketball lately.

Not only is he the Celtics' leading scorer at 16.8 points per game, but he has reached double figures scoring in eight straight games.

That's his longest double-digit scoring stretch since he had 14 consecutive double-digit games at the end of last season.

Boston has made getting Green the ball in spots where he can be most effective, a major priority; specifically, closer to the basket.

On shots taken from 9-feet or less, Green is shooting 58 percent. When shooting 10-14 feet away, he's hitting just 24.2 percent of his shots.

"He (Green) causes a lot of mismatches," said Boston's Jared Sullinger. "He's got great size, great athleticism; want to get him the ball near the rim and make it easy on him and then get his outside shot going."

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has heard some of the criticism levied towards Green for not being consistent enough this season.

"Everyone is going to go through ups and downs," Stevens said. "We have to remind people we have 62 games left. You can never predict what is coming. But I certainly think his consistency has been good in practice. It's been good in the film room. It's been good in his approach. He had a couple of tough games there; not very many guys are going to go through the year without some lulls. But he answered the bell and came right back."

And that's what makes his current run so interesting.

Green hasn't played well in each of the last eight games, but he has done enough to make himself a factor.

That hasn't always been the case with him here in Boston.

There have been games in which he didn't score many points, but far too often those games involved him doing little else to fill the offensive void his off night shooting the ball created.

But during this recent stretch, the consistency isn't in his scoring but more so in his ability to impact the game.

His lowest-scoring effort in the last eight games for Boston was when he had 13 points on 5-for-16 shooting in a 96-86 win at Charlotte.

Green only made one basket in the fourth quarter, but it was early in the fourth when the Bobcats had cut the Celtics lead down to just two points.

His basket put Boston ahead by four points. Green would later grab a rebound that helped trigger another Celtics basket.

Within a couple minutes, Green's play was part of a 9-0 Celtics run to start the quarter.

"He's a big part of what we do," Stevens said. "He's a big part of who we are. He's clearly, with (Rajon) Rondo being out, he's a guy that we go to. I don't think there are any two ways around it."