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

Celtics are living by the 3-pointer at a historic level

Celtics are living by the 3-pointer at a historic level

BOSTON – It has been well-established that the Celtics are a three-point shooting, bombs away kind of team and nothing seems like it’ll deter them from continuing along that path.
 
But as we prepare for the second half of the season, beginning tonight against the New York Knicks, we come to realize Boston’s launching of 3-pointers isn’t just unusually high.
 
This group of Celtics rank among the league's all-time leaders in 3-point attempts by the halfway mark of the season.

And when you look at the company they’re keeping when it comes to 3-point shooting, it speaks to how important it has become in this NBA to have as many long-range shooting threats on the floor as possible if you're trying to win at a high level.
 
Boston’s 494 3-point attempts thus far this season ranks fourth all-time by the halfway point of a season. But this season, that’s just good enough to be third behind Houston and Golden State with 617 and 505 three-point attempts, respectively.
 
The other team in the top four all-time is last season's Golden State squad, which took 519 three-pointers by the midway point of the season.
 
And all those 3’s by the Celtics have included an NBA-record six straight games in which they made at least 15 3-pointers.
 
That has allowed the Celtics to score at least 100 points in 15 consecutive games, the franchise’s longest such streak since they reached the 100-point plateau in 19 straight games in 1991.
 
Of course Isaiah Thomas’ 3-point shooting stands out, particularly when you see how dominant he has been this season in the fourth quarter with a league-best 10.1 points per game.
 
But his offense, while potent, is aided heavily by the shot-making snipers coach Brad Stevens surrounds him with on a nightly basis.
 
That’s why you didn’t see Stevens or president of basketball operations Danny Ainge freak out earlier this season when the Celtics were struggling.
 
Kelly Olynyk, who shot better than 40 percent on 3’s a year ago, was still on the mend after offseason shoulder surgery.
 
Jae Crowder, whose 3-point shooting has steadily improved throughout his career, had some minor injuries that set him back and maybe more important, didn’t allow him to get into the kind of shooting rhythm we see now which has allowed him to shoot a team-best 42.6 percent on 3’s.
 
Al Horford, Thomas, Amir Johnson … they all missed some time due to injuries this season, which has impacted the team’s chemistry and timing.
 
But the past couple of weeks have seen the Celtics healthier than they’ve been most of this season, and it has allowed them to play with the kind of space they want which has allowed Thomas and his cohorts to take lots of lightly contested to open 3’s most of this season.
 
“We’ve got pretty good shooters on this team where you’ve got to pick your poison,” Thomas said. “We’re shooting at a high level, and I got to say, you just have to pick your poison who you want to stop and my job is just to make the right play each and every time down.”
 

Mike Gorman: 'No thanks on Carmelo Anthony to the Celtics'

Mike Gorman: 'No thanks on Carmelo Anthony to the Celtics'

The New York Knicks arrive in Boston tonight with the accompanying "Melo-drama" of Carmelo Anthony's disintegrating relationship with team president Phil Jackson.

Anthony would have to waive his no-trade clause to leave New York and Boston has been an oft-rumored destination. 

On "The Toucher and Rich Show", the longtime voice of the Celtics, Mike Gorman, said he hopes it doesn't happen. 

"I don't get it. I don't see it," Gorman said. "He's a ball stopper. One of the things that always intrigued me about Carmelo is when he's played with Team USA or an Olympic team, often he's the best player. Then you go and see him in a regular-season game and you say, 'Oh no, no."'