Green settling into roles for Celtics

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Green settling into roles for Celtics

BOSTON -- Jeff Green started the day questionable to play in Friday night's game against the
Portland Trail Blazers. By the end of the fourth quarter, he was the Boston Celtics leading scorer.

Green suffered a sprained right knee on Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets and didn't make the decision to play until after pregame warmups. "I've just got to play through the soreness and pain and go out there and play hard," he said prior to game time. He delivered. Green scored a season-high 19 points (6-13 FG, 5-5 FT, 2-4 3PG) along with four steals, three rebounds, and two assists in only 23 minutes off the bench.

"Jeff is running the break, getting easy opportunities for himself," said Paul Pierce. "Hes one of the fastest guys out there."

The Celtics have looked for Green to be aggressive on a consistent basis. He has played just 16 games since season-ending heart surgery last January, averaging 8.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 22 minutes, and is still working to establish his role on the team.

One game, it was great," said head coach Doc Rivers. "What were trying to get him to see is
when hes at the three, hes a power player; when hes at the four, hes a speed player. Thats
how he has to look at himself. Our guys did a good job of getting him the ball as well.

Last Friday Green scored 17 points against his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. The
Celtics aren't looking for him to drop close to 20 points a game, but they would like to see him continue to bring that intensity game in and game out.

"I got to the line, attacked the rim, just being aggressive," Green said. "When you get easy
layups, get to the free throw line, it creates some rhythm. So that's what I did. I tried to continue and my teammates found me on a couple of the plays."

The Celtics will continue to encourage Green and get him his shots. After signing a four-year deal this offseason, he is a key component to their roster. Both his teammates and Green himself want to see him thrive on the Celtics.

"Jeff's a real, real talented player and we've just got to continue to promote him," said Kevin
Garnett. "Being a teammate, I'll support him in everything he's doing. Nights when he's not having it, try to get him easy baskets. Some nights we aren't going to have it going, but as a unit we're out there to make it easy on each other, so Jeff's no different."

As for his knee, Green said it "felt good" after loosening it on the exercise bike prior to the game. He plans to play Saturday against the Milwaukee Bucks.

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

PHOENIX - Major League Baseball intends to push forward with the process that could lead to possible rule changes involving the strike zone, installation of pitch clocks and limits on trips to the pitcher's mound. While baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope the ongoing process would lead to an agreement, he said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Union head Tony Clark said last weekend he did not foresee players agreeing to proposed changes for 2017. Under baseball's collective bargaining agreement, management can alter playing rules only with agreement from the union - unless it gives one year notice. With the one year of notice, management can make changes on its own.

"Unfortunately it now appears that there really won't be any meaningful change for the 2017 season due to a lack of cooperation from the MLBPA," Manfred said Tuesday during a news conference. "I've tried to be clear that our game is fundamentally sound, that it does not need to be fixed as some people have suggested, and I think last season was the kind of demonstration of the potential of our league to captivate the nation and of the game's unique place in American culture."

Yet, he also added: "I believe it's a mistake to stick our head in the sand and ignore the fact that our game has changed and continues to change."

Manfred said while he prefers an agreement, "I'm also not willing to walk away." He said he will send a letter to the union in the coming days and plans to continue dialogue with Clark and others in hopes of reaching agreement.

Clark met with Cactus League teams last week, five at a time over Thursday, Friday and Saturday, before departing Monday for Florida to visit each Grapefruit League club - and proposed rules changes were a topic.

"I have great respect for the labor relations process, and I have a pretty good track record for getting things done with the MLBPA," Manfred said. "I have to admit, however, that I am disappointed that we could not even get the MLBPA to agree to modest rule changes like limits on trips to the mound that have little effect on the competitive character of the game."

Clark saw talks differently.

"Unless your definition of `cooperation' is blanket approval, I don't agree that we've failed to cooperate with the commissioner's office on these issues," he wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this offseason we've been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened. I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don't continue, notwithstanding today's comments about implementation. As I've said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open."

Clark added "my understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2-minute limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of game warning/fine adjustments."

Manfred said he didn't want to share specifics of his priorities for alterations.

"There's a variety of changes that can be undertaken," Manfred said. "I'm committed to the idea that we have a set of proposals out there and we continue to discuss those proposals in private."

MLB has studied whether to restore the lower edge of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level - at the top of the kneecap. Management would like to install 20-second pitch clocks in an attempt to speed the pace of play - they have been used at Triple-A and Double-A for the past two seasons.

Players also have been against limiting mound meetings. The least controversial change appears to be allowing a team to call for an intentional walk without the pitcher having to throw pitches. In addition, MLB likely can alter some video review rules without the union's agreement- such as shortening the time a manager has to call for a review.

"Most of this stuff that they were talking about I don't think it would have been a major adjustment for us," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Manfred said starting runners on second base in extra innings sounds unlikely to be implemented in the majors. The change will be experimented with during the World Baseball Classic and perhaps at some short-season Class A leagues. Manfred said it was a special-purpose rule "beneficial in developmental leagues."

Manfred also said Tuesday that a renovated Wrigley Field would be a great choice to host an All-Star Game and Las Vegas could be a "viable market for us."

"I don't think that the presence of legalized gambling in Las Vegas should necessarily disqualify that market as a potential major league city," Manfred said.

Bulpett: Ainge 'really protective' of ability to go to free agency this summer

Bulpett: Ainge 'really protective' of ability to go to free agency this summer

Steve Bulpett joins Mike Felger to weigh in on the NBA trade deadline and the lack of moves made by Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics thus far.