Green turning a corner lately for Celtics

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Green turning a corner lately for Celtics

BOSTON Jeff Green's rise into an impact player off the Celtics bench has been undeniable.

He's scoring. In most games, he's rebounding. He's defending at a high level.

It appears Green has finally removed the biggest obstacle in his path towards strong play -- himself. Green is playing with the kind of free-flowing style that is starting to make that four-year, 36 million contract he signed with the Celtics in the summer look more and more like a bargain.

And C's head coach Doc Rivers is quick to acknowledge that he's not doing anything scheme-wise to free Green up any more now than earlier.

"I think Jeff is just freeing himself up," Rivers said. "He's starting to do it and it's really been good."

In Boston's last five games, Green has easily set himself apart from the rest of the Celtics backups. During that span he has scored in double figures four times while averaging 16 points and 4.2 rebounds along with shooting 54.4 percent from the field.

In the 15 games prior to that, Green averaged 7.7 points, 2.5 rebounds while shooting just 40 percent from the field.

"Jeff has just elevated his game the last couple of games, playing hard and just going at it," Celtics big man Chris Wilcox told CSNNE.com. "I was waiting to see this part of him."

So was the rest of Celtics Nation.

"I just went through a slump," Green said. "Every player goes through one. Now shots are going in for me; things are turning the corner."

And Green's play is beginning to turn heads, especially his above-the-rim game.

In Boston's 92-79 win over Philadelphia on Saturday, Green had a pair of dunks including an alley-oop from Rajon Rondo in the fourth quarter that put the Celtics ahead, 81-63 with 7:44 to play.

"I'm getting there. My bounce is getting there," Green said. "It's been a slow process but it's coming along."

Amir Johnson a game-time decision for Game 4 with shoulder injury

Amir Johnson a game-time decision for Game 4 with shoulder injury


CLEVELAND – Brad Stevens won’t know until shortly before tip-off tonight if he will have to make another lineup change.
 
Amir Johnson, whose right shoulder was injured in the Celtics' 111-108 Game 3 win on Sunday, is questionable for tonight’s Game 4.
 
“It’s better for sure,” Johnson told CSN this morning. “Yesterday, it was hard to lift. Today, I can move it all around. In shoot-around, I’m going to get a couple shots, see how it feels and go from there.
 
He added, “it’s definitely going to be a game-time decision. I’m going to go and shoot around, just to get a feel. And then for the game-time, I’ll shoot around some more, see how it feels and take it from there.”
 
Healthy or not, Johnson being with the starting group is far from a given.
 
The 6-foot-9 veteran has consistently been the first starter subbed out and usually winds up playing the fewest minutes.
 
In Game 3, two of his backups – Kelly Olynyk (15 points) and Jonas Jerebko (10 points) – shined brightly.
 
Here are some other highlights from the Celtics’ morning shoot-around.
 
THOMAS UPDATE: Isaiah Thomas met with a hip specialist on Monday, according to Stevens. “Still collecting information,” said Stevens, adding, “We’ll wait and see or we’ll discuss second, and third, and fourth, and fifth opinions.”

Thomas injured his right hip March 15 and later re-aggravated it in the first half of the Game 2 loss Friday. Less than 24 hours later, he was deemed out for the remainder of the playoffs.
 
He was replaced by Marcus Smart in the starting lineup and Smart responded with a career-high 27 points in Game 3, which included seven made 3’s which is a career-best mark as well.
 
BOUNCE-BACK CELTICS: The Celtics winning Game 3 sent shockwaves throughout the league, especially coming on the heels of a 44-point home court drubbing at the hands of the Cavs. “If you’re in sports long enough you’re going to have clunkers,” Stevens said. “You’re going to have games that don’t go your way. And our guys took seriously the idea of responding and just playing the next possession as well as they could.”
 
ROZIER HOMECOMING: The second-year guard grew up in nearby Youngstown, Ohio (75 miles southeast of Cleveland), so you can expect he’ll have a decent contingent of fans at tonight's game.
 
While he’s all-in for the Celtics, the same is not true of his friends and some family members.
 
“My family does a good job of staying on my side except for my one younger cousin,” Rozier said. “She loves LeBron.”