Notes: Green contributes in the clutch for Celts


Notes: Green contributes in the clutch for Celts

By Jessica Camerato

BOSTON - Jeff Greens role within the Boston Celtics system has been questioned since he was traded to the team in February.

Would he be used as a small forward or an undersized power forward? Would he back up Paul Pierce or play with the starters? Where would he fit in?

Maybe there is no definitive answer - and thats okay. On Sunday night against the New York Knicks he proved his most important role was to be a contributor.

With the Celtics fighting to overcome a lingering deficit, Green hit a go-ahead jumper from Delonte West three minutes into the fourth quarter to give the Cs a 66-64 lead. Even though Green only scored four points, that shot capped off a 7-0 run and gave the Celtics the momentum they needed to earn a come-from-behind victory in Game One.

It was big, just from a team standpoint for me to help my team, he said following the 87-85 win. In order for me to make that shot, it was just a regular shot, Delonte put it right on the money. It was great when you can help your team get a lead, especially coming off the bench, keep the lead, and get it ready for your starters to come back in.

Doc Rivers had been preparing Green for a moment like this in the days leading up to the playoffs. He had Green practice with different lineups to give him more repetitions and better familiarity with the offense.

Green wanted to hone in on his versatility, whether it was stretching the floor at the four-spot or guarding several positions on defense. He was playing power forward in an undersized lineup when he hit the go-ahead shot.

Practices were great, very competitive. Thats what youve got to do to get ready for this, Green said. The rhythm and knowing the spots that Im going to get the ball helps. Hes putting me in great positions to succeed in this system and hopefully it continues to work.

Down 0-1 to the Celtics, Carmelo Anthony still likes the Knicks chances in this first round series. Instead of being discouraged by their last-second loss, he was optimistic about the upcoming games.

Were very confident, he said. Were a team that is going to look at this game and build off it. Guys in the locker room, it isnt like guys heads are down or anything like that. Guys are actually excited about Game Two coming up. We feel like weve got a chance to win Game Two with the energy level were going to come in here with.

Anthony was limited by early foul trouble. He posted 15 points (518 FG, 28 3PG), four rebounds, and four assists in 34 minutes.

It has been almost two months since Kendrick Perkins was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. And two months later, Doc Rivers still expects to hear about it.

Following the Celtics' win, in which Jermaine ONeal posted 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots but Shaquille ONeal was unable to play, Rivers was asked about the center position since the trade.

I think our team was fine today, he responded. But outside, its going to keep getting talked about. Perk will probably have 20 and 20 in the game tonight against the Denver Nuggets, and itll start all over again. And I actually hope it does -- it would be great for him. At the end of the day, this is who we are, this is who we have. And were fine. Were ready.

Bill Walker enjoyed practices when he was a member of the Boston Celtics. That was his opportunity to go up against Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, two veterans whose games he admired.

A year after being traded from the Celtics to the New York Knicks, Walker had another chance to go up against them. This time, it was in Game One of the first round of the playoffs.

When Carmelo Anthony picked up two fouls in the first two minutes of the game, Walker checked in off the bench and attacked. He scored all seven of his points (35 FG, 11 3PG) during a five-minute stretch in the first quarter.

I expect to play. I dont think any NBA player expects to be sitting on the bench watching the game, he said. Thats not what we get paid for. So I was expecting to come in and play, and thats what happened.

Walker exemplified the defensive tenacity that was preached to him during his time with the Celtics. He fought for loose balls, contested shots, and pestered his opponents. Walker knew how hard he was going to have to fight when he stepped on to the court against his former teammates.

I knew the challenge that I had to face and once you do that, youve just got to go in there and compete with them, he said. I like challenges, man. Who wants the easy way out?

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratoNBA. She can be reached at

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.