Green needs more from Green

927803.jpg

Green needs more from Green

After three games, things arent so sweet in Celtics Nation. In fact, at this point its far more difficult to find reasons to be optimistic than it is to simply rattle off a laundry list of concerns.

The bench is a mess. The starters are inconsistent. Theres a lack of urgency, edge and overall chemistry that you dont expect from a Kevin Garnett-led team.

Of course, theres no reason to panic yet, or to believe that these issues wont eventually work themselves out. Truth is, most of the problems that Boston has encountered are on par with what youd expect from a team with so many new pieces. In a way, this is where 2008 spoiled us; the Cs made it looked so easy that season. But its not easy. Building a team is hard. It should be hard. Right now, the Celtics are finding out how hard it can be.

But while we fight the urge to overreact, theres one issue, above all else, that threatens to linger: Jeff Green.

We all wanted to give Green a pass for his no show against the Heat, and for the most part, we all did. Its his first game in over a year! He was playing in a crazy atmosphere! He was up against LeBron! We pulled out every excuse in the book and gave him every benefit of the doubt. But in the two games since, Greens done very little to make amends. He followed up his three pointthree rebound effort against Miami with an uninspired 11 points and one rebound against the Bucks and then 11 points and two rebounds against Washington. In the win over the Wizards, Green only played 16 minutes (a troubling sign in and of itself), and continued to prove himself as a total liability on defense.

With Green, as much as hell be judged on his numbers, its also a matter of emotions. This Celtics team with KG leading the charge has always carried themselves with a level of pride and energy that's supposed to instill fear in the opponent, and even more, manifest itself within the identity of a game-changing defense. But Green doesnt have that. He doesn't fit in. Hes more of the JD DrewAdrian Gonzalez brand of athlete. An even keeled guy who looks lazy and uninterested by nature, even if that's not the case. Can a guy learn how to act differently, or is that just who he is? And if so, how will he ever earn the respect that he needs from the fans and more importantly, inside that locker room?

Of course, like I said, it's still so early. We still want to give this guy the benefit of the doubt. Not only because of all he went through, but because of how important he is to the Celtics' success. Truth is, the moment we officially deem Jeff Green to be a bust is the moment we write off the Celtics chances. That's how essential he is.

But so far, he's been inconsequential. He's been a non-factor. He's averaged 22 minutes, 8.3 points and two rebounds a game. He's yet to pick up an assist! Meanwhile, Doc Rivers has been forced to ride Paul Pierce at an alarming pace the captain's averaging more than 34 minutes a game! That's not good for business. And so far, neither has Jeff Green.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Wizards shoot ridiculous 65 percent from field

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Wizards shoot ridiculous 65 percent from field

After Boston’s last game against Portland – a loss – Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said he was encouraged by some of the things his team did defensively.

It’s safe to say Stevens won’t be singing that tone if the Celtics continue along the path they’re on defensively right now as the Washington Wizards went into the half with a 66-59 lead.

Washington, donning all-black clothes when they arrived at the Verizon Center, were very much looking as though they were digging a basketball grave for the Boston Celtics who allowed the Wizards to shoot a ridiculous 65 percent from the field in the first half and 61.5 percent (8-for-13) from 3-point range.

The Wizards scored the first four points of the game and spent all of the first half playing with a lead.

But the Celtics showed some fight late in the second quarter, going on a 14-6 run to cut Washington’s lead to 55-52 with 3:39 to play in the quarter.

Boston would later have a chance to tie the game, but Marcus Smart’s 3-pointer was off the mark.

And the Wizards, as they had done all game, made the Celtics pay as Bradley Beal drained a jumper that made it a two-possession game.

Here’s a look at the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half.

 

STARS

Bradley Beal

It was his idea to go with the all-Black look, and he backed up his talk with a strong first half of play. He has a team-high 14 points at the half along with five assists.

Isaiah Thomas

Thomas delivered yet another all-star caliber scoring performance in the first half for Boston. He led all scorers with 17 points on 5-for-9 shooting along with a game-high eight assists.  

John Wall

After scoring just nine points when these two met on Jan. 11, Wall has 13 points at the half on 6-for-9 shooting to go with five rebounds and three assists.

 

STUDS

Al Horford

It was an extremely efficient game offensively in the first half for Horford. He had 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting with three assists.

Markieff Morris

He’s one of four double-digit scorers in the first half for the Wizards. In addition to his 10 points, he also has five rebounds and three assists.

 

DUDS

Celtics defense

At this end of the floor, the Celtics were absolutely atrocious in the first half. The Wizards shot a ridiculously high 65 percent from the field, and were just as lethal (8-for-13, 61.5 percent) from 3-point land. They have no shot at competing let alone winning tonight’s game, if they don’t turn things around and do so soon!

Beyond the numbers: 'Game is slowing down' for Isaiah Thomas

Beyond the numbers: 'Game is slowing down' for Isaiah Thomas

Just about every part of Isaiah Thomas’ game offensively has seen tremendous growth this season.

But what has really separated him from earlier versions of himself, has been his 3-point shooting.

He comes into tonight’s game against the Washington Wizards shooting a career best 38.4 percent from 3-point range.

When asked about how he has elevated his game this season, the answer isn’t that simple.

“I don’t know” he told reporters prior to tonight’s game. “The game is slowing down for me. My teammates put me in position, my coach does … and I’m just knocking down shots.”

Because of his shot-making, Thomas has made it difficult for defenses to give him a steady diet of any style of play in trying to limit him.

And because they have to change things up with regularity, that has created more scoring opportunities.

“Sometimes they forget what they want to do (defensively) and leave me open for a three,” Thomas said. “Those are the the types of shots I need to knock down and I’m being aggressive.

He added, “I need to get to the free throw line, trying to make plays for my teammates. It’s one of those things where I’m in a really good zone now; a really good rhythm.”

A good rhythm?

According to NBA statistics guru Dick Lipe, Thomas is the first Celtic ever to make at least four 3-pointers in five straight games. Taking it a step further, he has made at least three 3-pointers in seven straight games which equaled Antoine Walker’s streak in 2001.

Thomas has also attempted 11 three-pointers in five straight games which is a franchise record. There have only been three longer streaks in NBA history - Golden State’s Stephen Curry (7 straight games, 2016); Washington’s Gilbert Arenas (7 straight games, 2005) and Dallas’ George McCloud (6 straight games, 2006).

He’s also averaging 3.1 made 3’s per game which would be a franchise record that’s currently held by Antoine Walker who averaged 2.7 during the 2001-2002 season.

And all those 3’s have added up to Thomas scoring at least 27 points in seven straight games, something that hasn’t been done by a Celtic since Larry Bird had eight such games in March 1988 as well as the 1987-1988 season.