Rivers: Green 'wanted the ball' for final shot

Rivers: Green 'wanted the ball' for final shot
March 28, 2013, 2:00 am
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CLEVELAND — It hasn't been a year since Jeff Green literally got a new lease on life in this city.

It is where he had heart surgery that has allowed him to return to the game and slowly but surely, continue to inch closer towards being his best.

Part of Green's growth involves being able to come through in the clutch, something he did in the final moments of Boston's 93-92 win over the Cavs on Tuesday.

With 2.1 seconds to play, the C's in-bounded the ball to Green who drove past a sea of Cavalier defenders -- courtesy of a great pick by Jason Terry -- for a lay-up with no time remaining that snapped a five-game losing skid for the Celtics.

After the game, much of the talk was about Green's game-winner and Doc Rivers' decision to go with a play for Green instead of Paul Pierce.

"I thought he (Green) was our best advantage," said Celtics Doc Rivers. "Paul is our best offensive player, but there’s certain nights when somebody else on your team has a better advantage. And I thought Jeff at the 4 (power forward) was a matchup advantage for us. And I figured that I’m going to go with the better advantage."

Pierce was among those pleased with Green getting a shot at delivering a game-winner, similar to what Green did earlier this month at Indiana.

"The play in Indiana I think is what got him really going, when he finished with a layup – and that was a hard layup in Indiana," Rivers said. "He wanted the ball. He asked for it. You could see. When you’re in a time-out and guys are staring at you, they’re telling you that they want the ball. Most guys look down, because they don’t want the ball. But he clearly wanted the ball. I think I sensed that. I think everyone sensed that."

And that desire to be more of a go-to guy bodes well for a Celtics team that, because of so many injuries, is still in a search-and-discovery mode as to who they are this season.

"Now you got another guy that's gaining confidence at the end of games that knows he can get it done," said Pierce, who had a near triple-double before finishing with 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. "You've seen what I've done. You've seen Jason Terry, he's done it. You've seen Kevin (Garnett) do it. You add that dimension, that could get scary when you got four guys that are capable in a close game of winning games."

Green said his confidence to deliver in those situations stems from his teammates and the coaching staff.

During the team's final huddle, Doc Rivers looked at Jeff Green.

Then Paul Pierce.

From there, the huddle broke with everyone on the same page that this final shot for the win, was going to be taken by Green.

"When you got a Hall of Famer like Paul who accepts that, it gives you confidence so I just tried to make a play," Green said.

And while much will be made of Green's confidence in taking those shots and his ability to finish, he's quick to say that what he did is something that many of his teammates are capable of doing as well.

"Whoever has it going, whether it's me, Paul, Avery, Jet, everybody has the confidence," Green said. "We trust each other enough to take those shots. At the time, they looked to me and I just wanted to make the play."