Celtics go Green tonight


Celtics go Green tonight

By A.Sherrod Blakely

LOS ANGELES The Jeff Green era in Boston will officially begin tonight - three years after the Celtics drafted him and immediately traded his draft rights away.

Both Green and the Green team have a second chance following Boston trading away Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Green and Nenad Krstic.

The 6-foot-9 forward will make his Celtics debut tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers.

"It's an honor," Green said after his first practice with the Celtics on UCLA's campus. "There's a lot of history behind the name on this jersey. I'm proud to be a Celtic."

The C's are pretty giddy to have him on board as well.

Green will be called upon to play both forward positions, a role he thrived in at Georgetown and later, with the Thunder.

In four seasons, Green has been a starter for 90 percent of the games he has played in, and averages 14.2 points while playing 34.5 minutes per game.

With the Celtics, Green understands he won't play as many minutes.

Not a problem, Green says.

"The same as in Oklahoma; just give it my all," Green said. "No matter how many minutes I play, whether it's two, whether its' 35, whether it's 26 every minute, every second, I'm going to play my heart out."

Still, Celtics coach Doc Rivers isn't expecting big things initially from Green.

"Jeff will probably take longer in some ways because he has to learn two positions, the 3 (small forward) and the 4 (power forward)," Rivers said.

One of the byproducts of having Green will be that it will afford Boston to rest Pierce more often.

Rivers believes Green will help Pierce as well as the rest of the Celtics.

"He's a talented player," Rivers said. "He's extremely talented."

Rivers visited Chicago briefly to visit with his mother, who is ill. On his flights, Rivers spent hours watching video of Green in Oklahoma City.

Two words -- very impressed.

Rivers knew Green was versatile, but didn't realize to what extent until he spent about 10 hours of watching him on video.

In addition to backing up Pierce, Green will also get a few minutes filling in for Kevin Garnett at power forward.

"He can handle the ball more than you would have seen our 4s (power forwards) handle it," Rivers said. "We'll let him handle the ball at the 3 (small forward) and let him run the show at times. He's going to help us a lot."

In addition to his ball-handling, Rivers was also pleased with Green's ability to score out of the post.

Rivers said Thunder coach Scotty Brooks talked glowingly about Green's post game.

''It's one thing to tell you, it's one thing to see it," Rivers said. "He's good."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

First-place Celtics continue to focus on playing well, not standings

First-place Celtics continue to focus on playing well, not standings

WALTHAM, Mass. – When it comes to NBA standings, no Celtic pays closer attention to it than Isaiah Thomas.
But the 5-foot-9 All-Star is quick to say that while he’s aware of what’s happening with other teams record-wise, Thomas, like his teammates, isn’t obsessed with it, even with the Celtics (48-26) now in first place in the East following Cleveland’s loss at San Antonio on Monday.
“It’s a good feeling,” Thomas said. “It’s still not the end of the year; anything can happen. It’s a nice feeling to be the number one seed for once, but we just have to continue to control what we can control.”

The fact that Boston is even in position to finish with the best record in the East is amazing when you consider injuries and illnesses have forced them to use 13 different starting lineups this season.
And the preferred starting five of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Al Horford and Amir Johnson has played together 31 times and posted an impressive 24-7 record.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been consistent in his message that while having the best record in the East is nice, he’s more consumed with the team continuing to improve.
“It doesn’t mean a whole lot right now,” Stevens said of being in first place. “The whole idea is to make progress, get better every day and stay in the moment. You do that if you’re in last place trying to build up or whether you’re in a position where you’re fighting for seeding. Ultimately, we’ve been able to grow and get a little bit better. But I still think we can play a lot better. That’s where my focus is.”
And the same holds true for his players. Thomas knows how unusual this season has been for the Celtics, who continue finding ways to win despite frequently being short-handed.
The latest example of that involves forward Jonas Jerebko, who is questionable for Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee because of a sore left knee that limited him in Tuesday’s practice.
“It’s a long season. A lot of things can happen whether they be good or bad and we know that,” Thomas said. “We just try to withstand the storm we’ve had a few times this year, and continue to try and stay as positive as possible and we’ve done that. We’re in a good position right now. We just have to continue to take care of business.”
And that means steadily improving while piling up the wins, particularly against teams such as the Bucks (37-36), who are among a handful of teams that could potentially be Boston’s first-round opponent.
Milwaukee comes in having won 11 of its past 14 games.

“It makes the game that much more important,” said Celtics guard Avery Bradley. “Just like the Miami game. We want to let the teams know now, they go up against us in the playoffs, it’s no mercy. We’re going to play hard. We’re going to bring it every single night. We’re going to play Celtics basketball every single night. Them knowing that, we can scare a lot of teams if we’re playing the right way.”

Jerebko questionable for Wednesday against Bucks

Jerebko questionable for Wednesday against Bucks

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics have spent most of this season playing short-handed and Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee will potentially be another one of those games.
Veteran forward Jonas Jerebko has a sore left knee and is considered questionable for the Bucks’ game.
“Jonas went through about half of [Tuesday’s] practice,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
Jerebko has missed two games this season due to illness.
Because of Milwaukee’s length at seemingly every position, Jerebko’s ability to play both forward positions will be something the Celtics will surely miss if he’s unable to play.
This season, Jerebko has appeared in 69 games while averaging 3.9 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 44.1 percent from the field and 35.0 percent on 3’s.