Celtics go Green tonight

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Celtics go Green tonight

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

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

Tatum easing into new challenge with Celtics

Tatum easing into new challenge with Celtics

BOSTON -- While the newest Boston Celtics were scattered about while at a community service event, 19-year-old Jayson Tatum was sitting in a really comfortable-looking chair, resting. 

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind unlike any he had ever experienced, beginning with the pre-draft process, to workouts, to the draft itself and all the appearances and media engagements that have followed. 

“It’s a lot,” Tatum, grinning, told CSNNE.com. “But I’m taking it one day at a time.”

That steady-as-she-goes approach served him well during his lone season at Duke. 

Keeping an even-keeled approach will bode well for him as he gears up for his first taste of NBA basketball beginning with summer league practice this week in preparation for next week’s summer league action which begins in Salt Lake City. 

Boston’s summer league opener will be July 3 against Philadelphia and the top overall pick Markelle Fultz, at the University of Utah’s Jon M. Huntsman Center.

Tatum, who has not played in a five-on-five game since Duke’s loss to South Carolina in the NCAA tournament, is admittedly excited to get back on the floor this week. 

“I can’t wait,” he said. 

Celtics Nation feels the same way about Tatum, selected with the third overall pick in last week’s NBA draft. 

Although it’s only a preseason game, there will be expectations and with that, possibly some added pressure for Tatum to show he was such a coveted player by the Celtics. 

“That’s why Duke helped me a lot,” he told CSNNE.com. “Duke, the best program in college basketball, we were always on the national spotlight good or bad, whether we were winning or losing. That will help me a lot preparing for the Boston Celtics.”

And like Duke, Tatum will have to fight his way on to the court although he readily admits the challenge is much greater in the NBA. 

“Isaiah Thomas, Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder . . . we didn’t have those guys at Duke,” Tatum said. “It’s gonna be tough; just try my best and get in where I fit in.”

Tatum said he will at times lean on his more experienced teammates, one of which was a former teammate of his – sort of – in Jaylen Brown. 

“I’ve known Jaylen for a while,” Tatum said. “We played with and against each other in high school at AAU camps. 

Tatum added, “at the AAU camps, sometimes we were on the same team and sometimes we were not.”

While much has been made about how the two are similar, Tatum sees both having strengths that complement, rather than compete, with each other. 

“He’s further along than Jaylen was skill-wise and he’s not as far along as Jaylen physically,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations. “Again, he’s 19 years old. I don’t want to put any expectations … I want to give him time to grow. We’ll see. He’ll definitely have a role, get a chance to play. And how well he performs is up to him.”

Tatum’s assessment of his game and Brown’s goes as follows:

“He’s a lot stronger, bigger than me,” Tatum, who is 6-foot-8, 204 pounds, acknowledged. “He’s much more athletic. Offensively, I think that’s what I excel in, being smooth and my ability to score. I can just learn from him, the things that he went through last year.”

One of the things he has already picked up on, is that Brown is a pretty smart – and at times clever – dude. 

Not long after Tatum picked jersey number 11, Brown, who wears number 7, took to social media and came up with a 7-11 theme that has already lead to some pretty snazzy t-shirt designs. 

“I thought it was funny,” Tatum said. “It’s catchy; I like it.”

And the Celtics really like Tatum’s game which has been compared at times to former Celtic great Paul Pierce. 

“I hate to make those comparisons when kids are 19 and let his game evolve into whatever it is,” Ainge said. “The similarity is they have good footwork. They both have really good ways to create space for shots. But the similarity … they’re both very good defensive rebounders. Those are two things that stand out to me with Jayson that are Paul characteristics.”

Tatum knows he’s a long way from being in the same company as Celtic royalty such as Pierce. 

Before then he must first earn minutes on the floor which will not be an easy task. 

But Tatum’s demeanor, much like his game, has seemingly always been a bit more mature than most of his fellow basketball brethren. 

Tatum credits his parents, Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole.

“They raised me to be different, be more mature and stand out above the crowd and be my own person and be comfortable in my skin,” Tatum said. “That’s how I’ve always been.”

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: How does the Chris Paul trade affect the Celtics?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: How does the Chris Paul trade affect the Celtics?

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0:41 - Tom Curran, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith discuss the Rockets acquiring Chris Paul and how that trade can actually have an affect on the Celtics plans.

5:06 - Ian Thomsen joins BST to talk about if the Celtics are the front runners for Paul George, what would be too much to give up to the Pacers, and why it’s important to sign Hayward before trading for George.

11:21 - Evan Drellich joins from Fenway Park to discuss Rick Porcello getting his 10th loss of the season and if the struggling offense might be a season-long problem. 

14:58 - Tom Curran and Kayce Smith give their thoughts on Nate Burleson saying that Julian Edelman is the most under-appreciated receiver in the last 10 years.