Ainge on trades: 'This is to help us win now'

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Ainge on trades: 'This is to help us win now'

By Phil Perry
CSNNE.com

Danny Ainge wanted to make it clear. The trade that sent Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City in exchange for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic was completed on Thursday to help the Celtics get their 18th NBA championship this season. Not later.

"This is to help us win now," said Ainge, the Celtics' President of Basketball Operations, appearing on Comcast SportsNet's Celtics Pregame Live show Thursday night. "I always have to have my eye on the future. We were able to get a Clippers' first-round pick in 2012, which I think is a real building block as some of our guys are getting a little bit older. That's a huge piece to get.

"But the players we're getting, a 24-year-old three man that's versatile Green, and a 27-year-old center on a playoff team Krstic, and to create three roster spots to add some veterans, that's good for us."

Green is the Celtics' prized acquisition from the deal, Ainge explained.

"I think Jeff Green is a terrific player," Ainge said. "We need his athleticism, we need his length. I think anybody that has watched us play knows that our bench has struggled. Jeff is a 16-point-a-game scorer . . . with a lot of energy, athleticism, youth, range, shooting, post-up ability, especially at the small forward position. I think he brings a big boost to our team."

Ainge believes Krstic, Shaquille O'Neal and Jermaine O'Neal should be able to handle the load at center for the Celtics now that Perkins is out of the picture. The team could acquire more help down low with three roster spots available to fill with who Ainge called "worthy veterans."

"Krstic should be here by Saturday and be ready to play," said Ainge. "Hopefully we'll have another few roster spots filled in the next week or so."

The Celtics tipped off against the Nuggets Thursday with nine players in uniform, but Ainge is confident that when Green and Krstic arrive, and when the three vacant roster spots are filled, the team will be better than it was on Wednesday.

"I think you'll see it all come together, and I think you'll like what you see with more veterans, more shooting on our team, a little bit more versatility," Ainge said. "There will be a little bit more of adjustment period, for sure. But I think overall we'll be more suited, and more ready for the playoffs."

Crowder on Cousins' style: 'Step up to the test or you get run over'

Crowder on Cousins' style: 'Step up to the test or you get run over'

BOSTON – There was a point in the fourth quarter when Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins was fouled trying to score which brought about an automatic, intense and angry scowl from the all-star center. 

He raised his hand as he were going to strike back at the potential assailant. 

And then he saw the man was Jae Crowder. 

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Cousins, who had a game-high 28 points, then went to the free throw line, incident-free. 

“I’m not one those other cats he be punking,” said Crowder with a grin.

That moment was one of many throughout Friday night’s game when Crowder made his presence felt when the game mattered most, and wasn’t afraid to mix it up with whoever stood between him and helping the Celtics win – even Cousins. 

But as Crowder explained following Boston’s 97-92 win, that moment was about two physical players who have developed an on-the-floor rapport that speaks to their intensity and desire to win at all costs. 

“He’s going to bring the game to you; his physicality,” said Crowder who had 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. “He’s a very physical type of guy. If he senses you’re not physical at all, he’ll let you know. He’s a dog down there; he’s a bull. I love to go against a player like that. He’s going to give you his best shot each and every night. You either step up to the test or you get run over.” 

As soon as the two made eye contact, Crowder knew it was one of the many intimidation methods used by Cousins against opposing players. 

Crowder wasn’t having it. 

“That’s my guy; he’s my guy,” Crowder said of Cousins. “He plays a lot of tactics against a lot of other players. I’ve earned that respect with him. He knows I’m going to fight him just as hard as anybody else. We leave it on the court. He’s a good friend of mine. We’ve become friends, just playing ball, playing basketball the right way.”