Notes: Green answers Rivers' defensive challenge

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Notes: Green answers Rivers' defensive challenge

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON The Boston Celtics had the victory over Philadelphia well in hand.

All Philadelphia's Marreese Speights wanted was a bucket during garbage time.

Jeff Green wasn't having it, as he delivered a highlight-worthy block in the closing seconds of Boston's 99-82 win.

Green, who also had eight points and seven rebounds, came into the game with a bit of a defensive chip on his shoulder.

Coach Doc Rivers had said recently that Green needs to pick his game up on the defensive end of the floor, in addition to improving his rebounding numbers.

Consider both missions accomplished on Tuesday.

"It was great," said Rivers, referring to Green's defense. "We got on him a little bit the last couple days about defense and rebounding. I thought he answered tonight."

But Green, the Big East's Defensive Player of the Year in 2007, can't allow Tuesday night's strong performance be a one-night thing.

"For him, it has to be a repetitive act now," Rivers said. "He has to do it next game and the game after that. It has to become a habit."

It's fair to say that Philadelphia's Evan Turner, the No. 2 overall pick in last year's NBA draft, hasn't had the kind of rookie season most envisioned. He has been in and out of the Sixers lineup, still searching for a more defined role.

One of the knocks on Turner has been that he's not aggressive enough.

That wasn't a problem in Tuesday's loss to the Celtics.

Turner, who came into the game averaging 6.9 points per game, had 21 points - just two shy of tying his career-high - off the Sixers' bench.

While Turner hasn't had the kind of impact fans have come to expect from a player taken so high in the draft, coach Doug Collins said it has more to do with Philadelphia's personel than any shortcoming in Turner's game.

"I don't know a lot, but I do know what player's strengths and weaknesses are, and Evan's really, really good when he has the ball in his hands," Collins said. "When we have Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams, and Dre Andre Iguodala, I mean it's hard to have that fourth guy out there with the ball in his hands."

But with Williams (hamstring) out for the rest of the regular season and possibly some of the playoffs, opportunities for Evans to prove himself may be more plentiful in these final regular season games.

"We put the ball in his hands a lot on Tuesday; he attacked, he played great, I was proud of him," Collins said. "When he didn't play it wasn't something he did, and it's not because he wasn't a really good player. Just sometimes you're trying to put it all together and piece it together and it's hard."

It's looking more like that slump of sorts that Ray Allen was in, is now a thing of the past.

For the second straight game, Allen shot the ball extremely well.

In Boston's 99-82 win over Philadelphia, Allen had 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting from the field. That performance came on the heels of a 5-for-6 shooting performance in Boston's win over Detroit on Sunday.

Prior to that, Allen was 26-for-73 from the field (35.6 percent) from the field in Boston's previous seven games.

Rivers has maintained all along that Allen is simply going through one of those shooting funks he goes through every season.

That's why he's not overly concerned with Allen's struggles, nor does he believe that it will have any impact on Allen's confidence in shooting the ball.

"Ray never lost his confidence," Rivers said. "He just couldn't make a shot. You know, Ray is shooting anything leather. He is. He's not going to lose confidence. He's going to struggle like we all struggle at times."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

C's Mickey sent to D-League

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C's Mickey sent to D-League

Jordan Mickey, inactive in five of the Boston Celtics’ last six games, has been assigned to the Maine Red Claws of the Development League.

“He’s been inactive in a few of these games here,” Stevens told reporters prior to tonight’s game at Philadelphia. “And rather than being inactive and being here in a suit and tie, we knew there was a hockey game this afternoon and it was going to be unlikely to get much action on the court at all today. So it made a lot more sense to play for a couple days and fly down to Houston and meet us.”

Mickey has appeared in just eight games this season, averaging 2.2 points and 1.8 rebounds while shooting 47.1 percent from the field.

Tonight will be the former second-round pick’s 10th missed game this season, five in which he did not play (coaches decision) and another five in which he will be inactive.

The lack of playing time for the second-year player has more to do with Boston’s depth in the frontcourt than anything specific to his game.

“He’s done a good job,” Stevens said of Mickey. “It’s the same old thing that last year although we’re not quite as deep at that spot. But it’s still, at the end of the day we have to make a decision of, are we going to play more traditional or are we going to slide like a Jonas (Jerebko) or Jae (Crowder) over to the four (power forward) and play more spaced which limits the amount of bigs you can have in a game.

Stevens added, “he’s done a good job.  He’s made progress. I don’t think there’s any question we think he’s a guy that can help us not only down the road but this year.”

Mickey is in the lineup for the Red Claws’ game tonight against Santa Cruz and he’s also scheduled to play in Sunday’s game against the Raptors 905 with both games being televised via Facebook Live.

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