“I just went through a slump,” Green said after posting 16 points in the Celtics’ 92-79 victory over the 76ers on Saturday. “Every player goes through one. Now shots are going in for me, things are turning the corner.”
Pressed on what “turning the corner” has consisted of, Green offered, “Being aggressive, attacking the rim, getting to the free throw line, trying to make plays.”
In other words, being more assertive — a word that has almost fused itself to Green at this point. Fair or not, it’s become the most efficient way of assessing a Green performance: Was he assertive? Assertive in this case refers to Green attacking the basket, cutting through the lane without the ball, utilizing his speed in transition, and not passing up open shots.
“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.”
The most telling thing about Jeff Green’s is how his teammate talk about it. When Wilcox says “I was waiting to see this part of him,” or Garnett begged him to be an asshole (or worse), it’s clear that the aggressive “attacking the rim” Jeff Green existed in there somewhere… they just needed to find it.
Well… they found it. You’ll have to excuse me if I remain a little skeptical if it can continue. Like the 57.1% shooting from 3 over the last 5 games… that’s not sustainable. I do love that he’s 8-11 this year in the 4th quarter and OT from 3, though.
“Turning the corner” is a process… and Green is in the process of doing it. It doesn’t mean it’s done, and it doesn’t mean his struggles are over. But it does mean that Doc can point to this stretch of games and say “see what happens when you attack?” There’s nothing like results to prove to an often passive player that being passive doesn’t suit him.
Green seems like a nice, quiet guy off the court. What he needs to understand is that you can still be that while being a beast on it. You just have to get into character when you put the uniform on. He’s been doing that lately, and it’s showing great results.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston: Terry Diary: On Sixers, “soft”, and Santa | Weekend Dime: Scout’s take on the C’s | Wilcox’s energy leading to easy buckets | On the schedule, rest, and holiday cheer | WEEI: Are the Celtics finally showing “true grit”? | Globe: Celtics defense on the upswing | Zero rebounds grab KG’s attention | MWDN: Terry’s civil split helps Celtics