Jeff Green (left) did his best to make Carmelo Anthony uncomfortable recently.
Jeff Green might have played two of his best games of the season against New York and Miami. He scored a combined 20 points in those games.
Green often looked like he’s coasting through games, waiting and looking for his offensive opportunities. But there’s so much more he can contribute to a game.
In the above mentioned games, Green did just that. Besides agitating defense, he picked up 10 total rebounds in those gamesl. Sandwich six rebounds from the Atlanta game in between, and that’s 16 rebounds in his last three games—his highest three-game stretch since 18 against Milwaukee, Minnesota and Philadelphia.
When Kevin Garnett said earlier this season that Green has to be more of an "a******" on the court, Garnett was imploring Green to be more aggressive. Looks like Green is starting to apply that aggression at all times.
There will be times where the ball won’t come Green’s way on offense, so it’s up to Green to get involved. Boston can really use a “dirty work” player off the bench to bring energy and set the tone for the second unit.
And with the rotations reshuffled, exchanging Brandon Bass for Jared Sullinger, the second unit really needs someone to take the lead since Jason Terry hasn’t played to expectations.
Working harder doing the less glamorous work should also bleed into Green’s offensive game. He would get more easy buckets off of turnovers, off the occasional offensive rebound and on fast breaks.
Yes, Green has three-point range, but there isn’t any reason why the 6’9”, athletic Green should fade to behind the arc on fast breaks so frequently.
And with Rajon Rondo done for the season with an ACL tear, the Celtics will need this “mean” Green more. As Boston’s most physically gifted player, he’s best equipped to take on the opponent’s best offensive threat.
There’s no shortage of them in the league. Besides Anthony and James, Boston will see Brooklyn’s Joe Johnson, Los Angeles’ Kobe Bryant, Chicago’s Luol Deng, Philadelphia’s Evan Turner, and Indiana’s Paul George. Expect Green to get face-to-face with all them often.
Because Paul Pierce must assume more of a point-forward role for the rest of the season, having Green assigned to the toughest defensive match-up will conserve Pierce’s energy to run the offense, particularly down the stretch.
And with the roster currently short-handed, Pierce must play extend minutes. Thankfully, with Green chasing around the primary threat, Pierce can afford to pace himself.
With the game tied at 93 in the first overtime against the Heat, Green took a charge from Ray Allen with :47.7 left in the period. Extra effort like that will add up for Green and the Celtics.
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