Green adjusting to new role with Celtics


Green adjusting to new role with Celtics

By A. Sherrod Blakely

NEW YORK The Boston Celtics have been a team that thrives off emotion.

Some teams wear it on their sleeve.

For the Celtics, it's more like a body cast.

So when someone comes along who doesn't seem to quite fit in, emotionally speaking, well, it's noticeable.

That's why the play of Jeff Green, maybe more than any of the new guys, has come under such scrutiny.

He has had games in which he played well.

He has had others when he struggled.

And yet when you watch him on the court or listen to him afterward, you'd hardly know the difference.

The fact that the Celtics' second unit has struggled in the playoffs hasn't helped matters.

However, it's clear that Green is improving as the C's continue their march toward Banner 18.

They can officially clear the first hurdle on Sunday as they try to sweep the New York Knicks out of the playoffs.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers has heard the many questions and concerns about Green and whether he's fitting in well with the Celtics since they acquired him and Nenad Krstic from Oklahoma City for Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson, on Feb. 24.

While all would agree it hasn't been a smooth transition, there are signs that Green is starting to get a better handle on his role as a backup compared to being a starter for the Thunder.

"I think it's hard for him (Green) because he's never not started," Rivers said. "I also think it's a little more difficult because it's the first time since college when he comes on the floor at times, he is the go-to guy. He's been in the NBA playing with those other two guys (Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook) a lot. So, it'll change. It'll be better."

After scoring four points in Game 1, he was up to six in Game 2 and had nine in Game 3.

Defensively, he's starting to figure out how to better compete with Carmelo Anthony.

That could come in handy when you consider the Celtics, if they do eliminate the Knicks, are likely to face the Miami Heat and LeBron James in the next round.

"He's coming," Rivers said of Green. "You can see it. He's playing with a different level of energy."

Rivers is basing that on his play, not his personality.

"Jeff is a poker face guy," Rivers said. "You can never read into that. I think people are reading way too much into that stuff. Jeff may hit the game-winner in Game 7 of the NBA championship, and walk off the floor. But inside, he's probably having a party. You just may not see it."

While it's true that Green isn't an overly emotional guy, even he admits that he has to play with more fire.

More than anything else, Green is learning on the fly what it's like to be part of a team where competing for a championship isn't just a goal - it's practically a mandate for this team.

"Every practice, everything we do is championship level," Green said in a recent interview. "It took some getting used to, because I haven't been there and I haven't experienced it. That's where I want to be. I just have to find a way to get to that point. By me not experiencing that, I have to find a way to get there."

And the Celtics have no doubt that he'll make it - even if you don't see it on his face a la Kevin Garnett.

"I'm not Kevin who is expressive," Green said. "I just have to find it within myself to get my motor revved. It's just something I have to do, something I have to focus on, no matter how many minutes I play. I have to get it done."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Still wait-and-see on Smart's status for Celtics' opener


Still wait-and-see on Smart's status for Celtics' opener

BOSTON – Marcus Smart’s sprained left ankle injury continues to heal, but the Celtics remain in wait-and-see mode when it comes to his availability for the season opener on Wednesday against Brooklyn.
Smart sprained the ankle in the second quarter of a 121-96 preseason loss to the New York Knicks when he stepped on the foot of Knicks guard Justin Holliday.
He was helped off the floor by teammates Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas along with head trainer Ed Lacerte.
Since the injury, the Celtics have been pleased with the healing progress of the ankle, the same ankle he sprained as a rookie which kept him out for several weeks.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Smart is no longer in a walking boot and continues to be day-to-day as he receives a steady diet of treatments to help speed up the healing process.
Smart will undergo a series of tests to determine the ankle’s strength, prior to getting any kind of clearance to play.
That’s why Stevens isn’t worried about Smart returning to the floor too soon.
“I trust our staff. Our staff and Marcus will make that decision well,” Stevens said. “Then I play guys, if they are available.”
Smart has established himself as one of the Celtics’ top reserves, with the ability to play both guard positions and some small forward depending on the lineup on the floor. The Celtics have to prepare for the possibility that he will not be able to play in the opener (or the first few games considering Boston opens with three games in four nights.

His absence would create more playing time for Terry Rozier in addition to likely resulting in extended minutes for starters such as Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder.
As eager as Smart is to get back on the floor, he and the Celtics are mindful of the big picture.
This team wants to make a deep playoff run and they’ll everyone – Smart included – to do so.
That’s why as much as Smart wants to get on the floor immediately, he has to remember – or be reminded of – that this is an 82-game season and his long-term value to this team and its goals can’t be taken for granted.

Olynyk cleared for full contact at Celtics' practice


Olynyk cleared for full contact at Celtics' practice

BOSTON - The Celtics got a bit of good news on the injury front with Kelly Olynyk being cleared for full contact.
The 7-foot center participated in most of the Celtics’ drills on Saturday, some of which included contact.
Olynyk said he had been doing some contact work prior to practice Saturday, but in a more controlled setting.
“I’m just trying to ramp it up a little bit more, every day,” Olynyk said. “Just trying to take a step in the right direction every day.”
Olynyk had surgery on his right shoulder in May with him expected to be out for at least five months.
Danny Ainge, C's president of basketball operations, recently said that he anticipated Olynyk returning sometime in the middle of November.
That would put his return about six months out from the time of surgery.

“He did a lot more than he has done,” coach Brad Stevens said. “We’ll see how he feels and progress at the appropriate rate after that.”
One of the strengths that Olynyk brought to the floor when he played was the ability to help space the floor because of his 3-point shooting.
Olynyk was not just a good 3-point shooter for a center, but one of the better 3-point shooters in the NBA last season when he connected on 40.5 percent of his 3s last season.  And it’s clear that last season was not a fluke, evident by him shooting 37.3 percent on 3s for his career.
However, the addition of Al Horford not only solidified the Celtics’ interior defense but also provides them with another stretch center.
Horford, who spent the past nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, shot 34 percent on 3s last season which at the very least, makes him a player that defenses have to respect when he’s outside of the 3-point line.