It's not easy being Green

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It's not easy being Green

By Michael Felger

My world, as defined by standard dialogue with my peers.

Comcast basketball analyst prior to Thursday:

"Watch the games, Felger. When the starting five of Rondo, Pierce, Allen, Garnett and Perkins is healthy, the Celtics are the team to beat. You just don't know basketball."

Comcast basketball analyst shortly after 3 p.m. last Thursday:

"Check that. What we meant to say was that they'll be the team to beat if they get rid of their starting center and bring in a backup swing man."

Green Teamer last Thursday morning:

"Defense wins championships, you DB. Forget what Perk does offensively. The Celts don't need it. When you focus on his offensive deficiencies, you just prove how ignorant you are when it comes to the NBA."

Green Teamer at 3:02 that afternoon:

"Well, it's obvious that Perk is a liability on offense. Can't catch. Can't finish. Puts the ball on the floor. Why do you think Big Baby finishes games? Perk's offense was killing them."

Gary Tanguay, Greg Dickerson, Cedric Maxwell, et al, at any time from 2008 through 2010:

"Shaquille O'Neal is washed up, Felger. Out of shape. Can't stay healthy. More concerned with reality shows than winning games. He brought Phoenix down. He got in the way of LeBron in Cleveland. The Cavs were actually better off when he was on the bench. Can't you see that, Mr. Basketball? The Celtics are about 'team.' Not individuals. Ubuntu. Not that you would know anything about that."

Dicker-guay on Aug. 4, the day the C's signed O'Neal:

"This signing makes sense only because Shaq is going to be a role player. It's not his team. It's not even his position. He's going to have to accept playing behind Perk. That's why it will work."

Max-erson on Thursday afternoon:

"Who needs Perk. We've got Shaq."

Wyc Grousbeck (through the lips of any given Celtics analyst) all summer:

"If we had Perk for Game Seven in L.A. last year we would have had Banner 18."

Grousbeck (through the Green Team filter) today:

"Perk's importance has been overblown that game. Derrick Fisher hit a big shot. Some calls went against us. We didn't play well as a team. Perk wouldn't have made a difference. But our new backup wing player will."

Green Teamer all season:

"LeBron and the Heat don't scare us, you idiot. We've beaten him all three times this year. He's never beaten us in the playoffs. Why would we worry about him?"

Green Teamer following the Carmelo Anthony trade to the Knicks last week:

"Interesting move, but the Knicks are a long way from being a threat. No single perimeter player can beat us."

Green Teamer today:

"Jeff Green gives us something we haven't had since James Posey was here. We miss Tony Allen. Look at the matchups. You have to get out of the East before you get to the Finals. Pierce needs help defending Carmelo and LeBron. And don't forget Turkoglu and Joe Johnson. This was our biggest need."

Doc Rivers to Kobe Bryant on August 23:

"The Lakers still have not beaten our starting five. Our starting five against the Lakers starting five has a ring. Tell him dont forget that. We will be back strong and Perk will be there next year if theres a Game Seven."

Doc today:

"Um . . . Ah . . . Well . . . "

Dickerson this morning:

"I've got that dry cleaning for you, Doc. I'll have it over just as soon as drop Danny's off."

Tanguay this morning:

"Great trade, Wyc. I should be done waxing your car by this afternoon."

Max this morning:

"How are the Bruins working out for you, Felger? Enjoy the first round!"

Like I said: My world.

E-mail Felger HERE and read the mailbag on Thursday. Listen to him on the radio weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 the Sports Hub.

Young getting on floor more for Celtics, including key fourth-quarter stints

Young getting on floor more for Celtics, including key fourth-quarter stints

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – For most of his life, basketball has come easy to James Young.
 
So, the idea that in training camp he wasn’t just fighting to get playing time but also to stay in the NBA, was a jarring eye-opener.
 
To Young’s credit, he rose to the challenge and beat out R.J. Hunter for the Celtics' final roster spot.
 
And while Young’s playing time has been sporadic, he has done a much better job of maximizing his opportunities.
 
So, as the Celtics roll into Detroit to face the Pistons, Young finds himself playing his best basketball as a pro, good enough to make coach Brad Stevens not hesitate to put him in the game in the fourth quarter of a close matchup.
 
“It’s exciting to come back home,” Young, who grew up in nearby Rochester Hills, Mich., told CSNNE.com. “A lot of my family will be there. I’m not thinking about me. I’m just trying to do what I can to help the team.”
 
And lately, he’s getting an opportunity to do just that beyond being someone who helps in practice.
 
We saw that in the 107-97 loss at Toronto on Friday. Young came off the bench to play four minutes, 36 seconds in the fourth quarter with only two other Celtics reserves, Marcus Smart (8:39) and Jonas Jerebko (5:10) seeing more action down the stretch.
 
“It means a lot,” Young said. “He’s starting to trust me a little bit more. That’s a good thing. I’m just trying to do little things; rebound, get defensive stops and score when I get a chance.”
 
The fact that his scoring is just starting to take shape helps shed some light on why he has been buried so deep on the Celtics bench.
 
For his first couple seasons, Young seemed a hesitant shooter physically overwhelmed by opponents too strong for him to defend as well as too physical for him to limit their effectiveness.
 
But this season, he has done a better job at holding his own as a defender while making himself an available scoring option who can play off his teammates.
 
Young is averaging just 2.9 points per game this season, but he’s shooting a career-high 48.9 percent from the field and 41.7 percent on 3’s, which is also a career-high.
 
Getting on the floor more often has in many ways provided yet another boost of confidence to Young.
 
“I’m getting used to the flow of the game playing more consistently,” Young said. “I know what to do. It’s slowing up a little more and it’s getting easier.”
 

Blakely: Raptors newcomers show Celtics what they're missing

Blakely: Raptors newcomers show Celtics what they're missing

TORONTO – It’s far too soon to say if the Celtics’ decision to stand pat at the trade deadline was a mistake.
 
But the early returns aren’t encouraging.
 
Their 107-97 loss Friday night to the Toronto Raptors wasn’t because of Kyle Lowry (right wrist), who didn’t even play, or DeMar DeRozan, who played out his mind while scoring a career-high 43 points.
 
The game will be remembered by the new guys Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker, both acquired at the trade deadline by the Raptors.
 
Ibaka, who was a bad fit, and on most nights a bad player, in Orlando, looked like the O-K-C Ibaka while scoring 15 points to go with seven rebounds against the Celtics – numbers that were better than his two games combined against the Celtics this season with the Magic when he scored a total of just 12 points while grabbing eight rebounds.
 
And then there was Tucker, who got a crash video course on Raptors playbook just hours before the game, and proceeded to show the kind of toughness at both ends of the floor that has made him one of the league’s more underrated defenders as he finished with a near double-double of nine points and 10 rebounds.
 
It was their first game with their new team, but you would have thought they had been with Toronto all season long with how seamless they seemed to fit in.
 
Ibaka draining jumpers, Tucker causing chaos defensively, while absolutely crushing the Celtics on the boards...their play was a painful reminder of what could have been for the Green team.
 
Both were rumored to have been in the Celtics’ crosshairs prior to the Thursday 3 p.m. trade deadline. The Celtics were lukewarm at best on Ibaka (they didn’t want what would have been a 25-game rental) and just couldn’t quite strike a deal and cross the finish line for Tucker.
 
It’s too soon to hit the panic button and rip Danny Ainge for not getting a minor deal done like adding Tucker or Ibaka.
 
Still, his players have to embrace the truth behind what transpired this trade season.
 
Ainge went big-game hunting, focusing most of the team's efforts on landing a major difference-maker, a la Jimmy Butler or Paul George.
 
When that didn’t work out, he settled for the next best thing, which was to keep this group together.
 
The onus is now on them to prove that trust Ainge has in them, was well-placed.
 
Putting too much stock in the first game after the break is a risky proposition that no one should subscribe to.
 
But in the loss, it revealed many of the concerns and weaknesses of this roster that tend to get magnified in defeat while glossed over when they manage to win despite those flaws.
 
Isaiah Thomas may be the best scorer in the fourth quarter, but he’s human.
 
There will be games when Mr. Fourth Quarter can’t get it done.
 
Friday night was that kind of game for him. He scored just four of his team-high 20 points in the fourth.
 
And as the Raptors blitzed him repeatedly with two and three defenders, his teammates failed to step up when the opportunity was there to make impactful, game-altering plays down the stretch.
 
Watching the Celtics’ defense in the second half was painful.
 
DeRozan got whatever he wanted, when he wanted it.
 
And when he missed, the Raptors controlled the boards, got all the 50/50 balls and repeatedly out-worked Boston.
 
It exposed Boston in a way that’s painful to see, especially when those inflicting the greatest amount of damage could have been in the Celtics huddle and not the one on the other sideline.