WATCH: "I still think I have another level."- Jeff Green
BOSTON — Jeff Green had 23 points in Boston's 97-91 loss to Cleveland Friday night, the kind of performance that, by Green standards of late, wasn't all that impressive.
While he has gradually opened the eyes of many to his ability to dominate games and play at a high level consistently, there has been one voice -- the voice of Kevin Garnett -- that has been encouraging him throughout his ups and downs.
And that encouragement goes beyond simply thinking Green can be a good player for the Celtics.
"I always said J. Green is going to be one of the best ever to play this game," Garnett told Comcast SportsNet's Greg Dickerson this week. "When you watch him play, you see the glimpses."
When told of Garnett's comments, Green was initially taken aback by them.
"He said that? Wow," said a smiling Green. "Michael Jordan? Up there with him? Wow. I mean, coming from KG, a lot of respect."
Green has been influenced by -- along with receiving the support of -- a number of Celtics players, but few seem to have his ear the way Garnett has.
It makes sense. Garnett has been one of the most consistent superstars of his generation, a near-lock to go into the Hall of Fame.
Green is a long, long way from being thought of in that same context.
But, as Garnett pointed out, Green has shown flashes of being a superstar player, and lately has found a way to exploit mismatches at both ends of the floor to the benefit of the Celtics.
And if he continues to ascend into being one of the game's better players, rest assured he will not hesitate to point to Garnett's influence as being one of the keys to his own personal growth and develop as a player and as a person.
"I've watched him since Day 1 since I've been here," Green said. "His mentality in practice, coming into games, during games. And I'm trying to take that on and put it in my game. If he said something like that man, wow, I didn't know he said that. That's pretty big. You know, I gotta continue to work. I learn from him. I learn everything from him. I ask him questions. I pick his brain. He's been in the league for a while, so, he's been through it all. So, he's one of my role models, somebody I look up to. If he says something like that, and I continue to work, it'll come true."