Jeff Green's gaining steam


Jeff Green's gaining steam

Last Friday, I left you with a rather intense criticism of Jeff Green. But more than a mere opinion-based rant, the post detailed a few statistics which proved that, through 18 games, the Celtics had been a significantly better team with Green on the bench.

And then I wrapped up the post with this: "In conclusion, (Green's) been a mess. In every sense of the word. But thankfully, it's still early. Too early write him off, at least. And Green has a great opportunity to turn some heads this weekend with two huge games against a legitimate Atlantic Division rival."

Fast forward to this afternoon, and that's exactly what Green has done. In fact, forget turning heads, he has our heads spinning, and has left Boston feeling more optimistic about Green's potential than we've been at any point since the preseason.

In the two games against Philadelphia, Green posted 19 and 16 points, respectively. He's now scored at least 16 in four out his last five games. And it's not only that he's scoring, but also how he's doing it by running the floor with Rondo, attacking the rim and basically looking like a guy who's confident and ready contribute every time he takes the floor, regardless of the opponent.

And really, for Green, that's the next step. Doing it every time he takes the floor.

The truth is that this past weekend wasn't our first glimpse of the real Jeff Green (or the player who we hope is the real Jeff Green). There have been flashes over the last month, but it's been nothing more than that. And the bottom line is that as great as Green has looked over the past few games, he's still only at the baseline of what the Celtics need from him this year. His success against Philadelphia was only encouraging compared to his early struggles. In reality, this is what it should have been all along. And now that he's hopefully (and finally) up-to-speed, it's time for the next level.

I don't want to sound like I'm downplaying Green's breakthrough. I agree that we should take some time and appreciate how far he's come. But when you start the season six weeks late, there's not much time to sit back and smell the roses. It's about moving forward. Getting better. And not being satisfied with merely meeting expectations, but instead, surpassing them.

Now more than ever, there's reason to believe that Green can get there. But he's still got some work to do before those beliefs become reality.

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Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Following Thursday’s 105-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Boston Celtics will be on the prowl to rebound – literally – from its first defeat of the season.

Because for all that did not go right in Thursday night’s loss, the way Boston was beaten on the boards stands out emphatically.

“They got 24 more shots than us. We only turned it over (12) times,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the loss. “So that’s the obvious place they’re getting their possessions, on the glass. That’s going to be the number one thing, that has been the number one thing. It’s something we’ve talked about. We have to get better at it.”


Boston was out-rebounded 55-36 on the boards which heavily factored into Chicago’s 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.

In the Celtics' 122-117 win over Brooklyn on Wednesday, Boston won the overall rebounding battle 47-44, but had just 12 offensive rebounds compared to Brooklyn's 15 offensive boards. Despite the close margin, the Nets won the battle on the offensive glass running away, outscoring the Celtics 23-13 in second-chance points.

Stevens decided to start Tyler Zeller ahead of Amir Johnson to begin the third quarter, hoping Zeller would be a better matchup on the glass than Johnson who did not grab a single rebound in the 11 minutes of court time he got in the first half.

While Zeller did do a few good things on the glass and scoring in half-court sets, it wasn’t enough to swing the momentum Chicago was steadily gaining due to its ability to control the boards.

“I wasn’t real surprised but at the same time I knew it could happen,” Zeller told reporters, referring to Stevens’ decision to have him start the second half. “They did a good job of coming out and setting the tone. They beat us up on the boards, especially the first half. It’s something we have to get better at and continue to grow at.”

And it’s not a one-player or one-position issue, either.

Usually we think of bigs when it comes to rebounding. But Boston’s guards need to step up their rebounding game as well.

The struggles thus far have to be put in the context of this being just two games, the latter being the season opener for the Bulls who were jacked up more than usual due to it being the first game for Chicago native Dwyane Wade and ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo.

“We have to focus on boxing out,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Guards have to do a better job. Guys like me, Al (Horford), Amir (Johnson), Tyler (Zeller) ... We have to do a good job of coming in the weak side and grabbing those; just focus on it, pay more attention to detail.”