Jeff Green will be key to a deep postseason run

Jeff Green will be key to a deep postseason run
April 15, 2013, 6:00 pm
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WALTHAM, MA — As Carmelo Anthony led Syracuse University on an unexpected journey through the NCAA Tournament towards the school's lone national championship in 2003, Jeff Green was among those paying attention.

In high school at the time, Green saw the same thing most NBA fans see on a nightly basis from the current New York Knicks standout - a player who can dominate games and has the ability to carry his team further than most expect.

While the respect for Anthony is there, Green fully understands his job will be to make sure Anthony doesn't add to those memories of deep postseason journeys as the Boston Celtics gear up for a first-round playoff series against the New York Knicks beginning this weekend.

Yes, the Celtics still face the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday and then the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.

And while those games are important in terms of helping improve the team's rhythm heading into the playoffs, Green knows his match-up with Anthony will be among the keys to the series.

"It's a tough match-up for anybody," Green said. "I'll be ready to play, and try to make everything tough on him. That's about it."

Green's efforts in defending Anthony will be aided by a strong game offensively, with Anthony more likely to match up against Green than Paul Pierce.

In four games against New York this season, Green has averaged 17.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists while shooting 55.6 percent from the field and 38.5 percent on 3's - all better than his season averages in those respective categories.

One of the knocks on Green's strong play of late has been he doesn't necessarily attack the game's elite players like LeBron James and Anthony with the same vigor he does less-established players.

"I'm going to continue to be aggressive no matter who is checking me," Green said. "I just have to make sure I do my job on the defensive end first."

And that likely means making life as tough as possible on Anthony, a player that Green gave serious thought to following to Syracuse University before eventually choosing to stay closer to home at Georgetown University.

"I got recruited by Syracuse, and it was a year after he (Anthony) left," Green said. "By him being from the Maryland area and him going to Syracuse, it made me want to go there. He was somebody who growing up, I looked up to."

Green joined a star-studded recruited class by Georgetown which included another first-round pick, Indiana's Roy Hibbert.

But the glory days of college are a distant memory now.

Green's focus is on creating new memories, the kind that would come about with the seventh-seeded Celtics upsetting the newly crowned Atlantic Division champion and No. 2-seeded New York Knicks.

"You can be the underdog," Green said. "The objective is to still win. That's all we really care about. We know what we can do and we know we can beat this team. We believe we have a good opportunity to win a championship. We just have to take care of what we can control."