Tough return to OKC for Celtics' Green

Tough return to OKC for Celtics' Green
March 11, 2013, 12:00 am
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OKLAHOMA CITY — Before and after Sunday's game against Oklahoma City, there were plenty of hugs, handshakes and high-fiving to to go around for Jeff Green.

It was what happened in between - you know, the game itself - that indeed ruined this homecoming of sorts for Green who was among the many Celtics who struggled in Boston's 91-79 loss to the Thunder.

While it was clearly an off night for so many Celtics players, Green's struggles stood out because it was his first game back in Oklahoma City since the Thunder traded him to Boston in 2010.

The 27-year-old was drafted by Boston in 2009, but his draft rights were immediately traded to Oklahoma City (then-Seattle) that night.

So as the Sonics made the migration to Oklahoma City and eventually morphed into the current-day Thunder, Green was part of that.

He doesn't discount how much being a part of that transition period means to him both as a player and on a personal level.

It was clear as day that even though he was no longer a member of the Thunder roster, there's still a lot of love for him in these parts - and vice versa.

So for him to be a little off his game and it likely to be because of a wide-ranging spectrum of emotions, is understandable.

But that being said, Green knows the Celtics have little to no shot at winning when he scores eight points on 2-for-11 shooting in 28 minutes, which was the case on Sunday.

Green has often been criticized because he doesn't necessarily wear his emotions on his sleeve the way a Kevin Garnett or the man he was traded to Boston for, Kendrick Perkins, does.

How ironic is that the one game where Green's emotions clearly had an impact on some level on his play, the 6-foot-9 forward struggled miserably.

After the loss, the usually emotion-less Green acknowledged that his first game back in Oklahoma City since being traded was not just another game on the NBA docket.

"It was my first time and those nerves were there," Green admitted. "But at the end of the day, I just want to win the game. I wasn't really thinking too much about anything else."

But performances like the one he put on Sunday won't cut it.

Green's 2-for-11 shooting matched his worst shooting game of the season (Dec. 29, at Golden State) when he took 10 or more shots from the field.

It also snapped a four-game streak in which Green reached double figures scoring.

And while there was disappointment with the loss, Green now has this game behind him so now that he and the C's can both move on and move a little closer to bringing full closure to this chapter in his NBA career.

"It feels good to just get it over with," Green said.