Notes: Green contributes in the clutch for Celts

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Notes: Green contributes in the clutch for Celts

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

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 jessicacamerato@gmail.com.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Rockets

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WATCH: Celtics vs. Rockets

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics play the Rockets in Houston. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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Celtics-Rockets preview: Get ready for 3-point showdown

Celtics-Rockets preview: Get ready for 3-point showdown

Earlier this month the Boston Celtics took a season-high 42 three-pointers in a game which raised a few eyebrows. 

And you know what?

No one would be surprised if the Celtics (12-8) surpassed that total tonight when they face the Houston Rockets who have set the pace when it comes to launching 3-point bombs in the NBA this season with 37.0 attempts per game. 

The Celtics aren’t too far behind, averaging 30.8 three-pointers which ranks fifth in the NBA.

But what makes these two teams so unique is that in addition to taking a lot of 3s, they also rank among the NBA’s leaders when it comes to knocking them down. 

The Rockets (13-7) make an NBA-high 14.0 three-pointers per game while the Celtics are fifth in the league with 11.1 made 3s per game. 

And the key to that stat is that both teams shoot a surprisingly high percentage from 3-point range as well. 

Houston’s 37.8 percent from 3-point range is the fifth-best mark in the NBA while the Celtics shoot 36.0 percent on 3's which ranks 10th in the league. 

So what does all this 3-ball shooting mean? 

It means get your popcorn ready for what should be one of the more exciting, high-scoring games on the Boston Celtics’ schedule this season.

Here are some other key stats to keep tabs on during tonight’s game. 

 

FIRST QUARTER SCORING

There is no team in the NBA better at jumping on you from the outset, then Houston. They lead the NBA in first-quarter scoring with 31.2 points per game while shooting 51.9 percent in the quarter which is also tops in the NBA. But there’s a downside to their first quarter success. Houston’s first quarter defense is pretty bad, ranking 27th in the league in first-quarter points allowed (28.5) while allowing teams to shoot a league-worst 52.3 percent from the field in the game’s first 12 minutes. 

 

FOURTH QUARTER SCORING

As impressive as Houston is to start games, the Boston Celtics are just as dominant offensively in the fourth quarter. Boston averages a league-best 29.1 points per game in the fourth compared to the Rockets whose 24.4 points in the fourth ranks 21st in the NBA. Boston’s strong finish to games is aided by a defense that seems to save its best work for the fourth quarter. Opponents are shooting just 40.6 percent against the Celtics in the fourth which ranks as the third-best fourth quarter defense in the NBA.

 

OFFENSIVE REBOUND PERCENTAGE

Boston’s struggles on the boards are well documented which includes - but is certainly not limited to - offensive rebounding. The Rockets will present a major problem to Boston when it comes to trying to avoid Houston getting second and third-shot opportunities. The Rockets rank fifth in the NBA in second-chance points (15.3) per game while the Celtics’ defense allows 15.2 second-chance points which ranks 27th in the league. And Boston’s offensive rebounding percentage for opponents ranks dead-last in the NBA at .265.

 

BALL MOVEMENT

Both teams rank among the league leaders in assists per game with Boston’s 24.4 assists per game average No. 2 in the NBA and Houston’s 24.3 assists ranks fourth. But more telling is how the Celtics rely more heavily on keeping the ball moving, more so than the Rockets. You see this in Boston averaging 329.2 passes per game which ranks third in the NBA while the Rockets’ 273.5 passes per game average is 29th in the league. Still, Houston’s passing game is to be respected especially when you consider the lofty assists numbers they’ve racked up in addition to them getting 59.2 points created via the assist according to nba.com/stats

 

TURNOVERS

These two are at opposite ends of the basketball world when it comes to turnovers. Boston commits 12.3 per game which is the fourth-fewest committed in the NBA while the Rockets are turning the ball over 16.1 times per game and that ranks 27th in the league. And these two remain widely far apart in the fourth quarter which is when the Celtics turn the ball over a league-low 2.2 times per game in the fourth while Houston turns the ball more than twice as much (4.5) which ranks 29th in the league.