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.

Jerebko shoots, and shoves, and will get a chance to do both in Game 4

Jerebko shoots, and shoves, and will get a chance to do both in Game 4

CLEVELAND -- Back in 2009, a team official with the Pistons was trying to sell me on the idea that Jonas Jerebko, selected by Detroit in the second round that year with the 39th overall pick, was different. 
 
Big men from Europe back then had a reputation for being more finesse than forceful when on the floor, guys who would rather shoot than shove. 
 
“This kid, he’s different,” the official told me at the time. “He doesn’t mind mixing it up.”
 
While he is often praised for his ability to help stretch the floor with his long-range shooting, Jerebko’s desire to be physical at both ends of the floor is one of his strengths. 
 
As for those who don’t know that’s a big part of his game, Jerebko says, “They probably haven’t seen me play enough.”
 
That may change beginning with Game 4 against Cleveland. 
 
Boston’s Amir Johnson suffered a right shoulder injury after Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson appeared to have tugged on it while both were going for a rebound in Game 3. Johnson told CSN that he will meet with medical officials sometime today, and is questionable for Game 4.
 
If Johnson is unable to play, coach Brad Stevens will likely consider putting Jerebko in the starting lineup. 
 
Stevens made a similar move in the first round of the playoffs last season against the Atlanta Hawks, and the Celtics went 2-2 with Jerebko starting. 
 
 “I like to compete. I hate to lose, I love to win,” Jerebko told CSN. “So whatever it takes. If you have to play hard, you play hard. You got a lot of tough players out there. You gotta be one of them.”
 
He was just that in Game 3 as he came off the bench to score 10 points on a perfect 4-for-4 shooting display that included a go-ahead basket in the final minute of play.
 
“My job is to stay ready,” Jerebko said. “That’s all I can do; control what I can control and stay ready, be in the gym on a day like this and try to get better. Just stay in the gym and always be ready.”
 
His preparation in advance for big moments made the final minute of Game 3 just another game for him. 
 
Coming out of a time-out with 36.3 seconds to play, Avery Bradley penetrated deep into the paint, which sucked in four Cleveland defenders. 
 
At the last second, he kicked it out to a wide-open Jerebko, whose 22-footer with 30.3 seconds to play put the Celtics ahead 108-106.
 
“I wasn’t the first option but I knew I was going to be open,” Jerebko said. “I saw Avery looking at this corner and I saw my defender go in so I knew I would get a good shot. I was hoping Avery would kick it out and he did. It felt good.”
 
And his play has been good for the Celtics, seemingly whenever he has been called upon. 
 
Johnson has seen first-hand how Jerebko has handled his inconsistent role on the eve of him becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer. 
 
“You just have to do nothing but salute him,” Johnson told CSN. “Of just being professional, staying ready and that’s what veterans do; they stay ready and he gave us a big game in this playoff series. You have to respect his professionalism. I’m proud of him.”