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."

Blakely: Celtics made the right choice in not pursuing Cousins

Blakely: Celtics made the right choice in not pursuing Cousins

NEW ORLEANS -- There will be a significant faction of Celtics Nation who will see DeMarcus Cousins’ trade to New Orleans as a lost opportunity for the C's, who could have offered a much more enticing trade package than the one the Sacramento Kings accepted.
 
The Kings received nothing even remotely close to a king’s ransom for Cousins, acquiring him in exchange for rookie Buddy Hield, journeyman Langston Galloway and ex-Pelican Tyreke Evans (who has never been the same since his Rookie of the Year season in 2010), along with a protected first-round pick and a future second-round selection.

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While the knee-jerk reaction is to focus on why Boston decided to not pursue a trade for Cousins, more important is what the non-decision means for the moment and going forward.
 
Think about what the Celtics have done in the last three-plus seasons.
 
They went from being a lottery team to one that has the second-best record in the East. They're holding the potential No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft; at worst, the pick will be in the top four or five. They have three of the most team-friendly contracts (Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder) in the NBA. They have promising prospects overseas as well as in the D-League. And they're led by a coach who has improved his coaching acumen -- and the team’s win total -- every year he's been on the job.
 
And it's all enveloped by a culture with a high level of selflessness, which has created a locker-room environment that has been more about fighting for each other than fighting one another or others off the court.
 
Do you really think Cousins’ talent would have trumped the baggage he'd be bringing to the Celtics if they'd acquired him?
 
For him to have fit in with this team would have required him to make the kind of changes that, frankly, I just don’t see him being capable of making at this point.
 
On more than one occasion, “not fitting in” with the Celtics culture was given to me as the reason why a Cousins-to-Boston trade never gained any traction with the team’s brass. Or coaching staff, for that matter.
 
While there's no denying that he's arguably the best center in the NBA, Cousins is a high-risk, high-reward talent that makes sense to pursue if you're a franchise which has nothing to lose by adding him to the mix. Like, say, New Orleans.
 
The Pelicans are 11th in the Western Conference despite having Anthony Davis, who has been asked to carry the weight of a franchise that has yet to figure out the best combination of talent to surround him with and find success.
 
The addition of Cousins not only provides Davis some major help, but serves as a reminder of just how desperate the Pelicans are.
 
While there are mixed reports on whether the package of assets the Kings agreed to was the best they could have received for Cousins, there was no way they were going to get anything close to comparable talent in exchange for him.
 
And that was solely due to the risk that any team was willing to take on in order to acquire him.
 
At some point, the Celtics need to take advantage of an opportunity to go all-in for a superstar player. But this was not that time, or that player.