By Jessica Camerato
Jeff Green was surprised to see the locker next to Kevin Garnett was vacant.
It had belonged to Luke Harangody, who was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and had not been occupied since the move.
Green had been assigned a locker on the other side of the room between Avery Bradley and Nenad Krstic, his teammate from the Oklahoma City Thunder. But when Krstics longtime friend Sasha Pavlovic joined the team yesterday, Green gave up his spot so the two could sit together.
That left only the empty space next to Garnett.
And Green was more than happy to take it.
"Kevin, his energy falls on others and I want it to fall on me, he told CSNNE.com.
If Green is getting energy from Garnett, it didnt just fall on him - it poured.
In just this fourth game with the Celtics, Green scored 21 points in 28 minutes during the Cs 107-103 victory against the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.
It was just the spark the Celtics needed with a depleted second unit. They were already shorthanded without their sixth man, Glen Davis, who missed his first game of the season with a strained left patella tendon. Then Von Wafer strained his right calf, forcing him to leave the game and cutting the Celtics' options off the bench.
Enter Green, who has been excelling in the transition from starting lineup on the Thunder to second unit on the Celtics.
They share the ball, he said. They make it easy for myself to get easy shots. Its a team effort, and I think we do a great job to make sure everyone gets the touch and making the extra pass.
Even though Green is no longer a starter on this team, he played significant minutes down the stretch with the starting five. Green clocked nearly 10 minutes of crunch time in the fourth quarter before fouling out with seconds left.
Its important to get to groove with those guys, he said of the starters. I had to play with the second unit, but its important that when I do get in a groove (with the starters) that I use my abilities to help them out - me getting on a break, Paul (Pierce) rebounding, KG rebounding, using my speed, and youve got a great guard like (Rajon) Rondo who can see the floor, which makes it a lot easier for myself.
The Celtics benefit from having an athletic player like Green on the court. Not only does he spread the floor when they are running offensive schemes, he also gives Rondo another option when they are on a fast break.
Hes a gazelle, said Doc Rivers. The guy can absolutely fly. Our guys know that now and you can see them - theyre giving it to him. And he knows that theyll get it to him, so hes running. Theres a couple of times that Kevin actually slowed down so he could run by him because he saw that he had his man beat. And thats just great awareness.
Said Rondo, Obviously hes going to be playing some minutes with us, so I think it was good for him. Thats something thats going to help our chemistry, is on-the-court action, down the stretch in the fourth quarter and also in the first half.
After only four games, and one night at his new locker next to Garnett, Green is fitting right in.
Im glad they accepted me to sit next to him, Green laughed.
Looks like the Celtics are glad to have him around, too.
Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratonba