Slowly but surely, the pleasant surprises and “proper expectations” are finally starting to come to life for Boston Celtics’ hybrid hopeful Jeff Green. Green is surely starting to play his way into the better part of the Celtics rotation(s), and his versatility is going to be a luxury to have for a team recently hit with two colossal injuries.
Last night, Green displayed athleticism and dazzle on the garden floor that was nothing short of spectacular. Green is starting to demand the ball and with the floor spaced out in small line ups he can be absolutely deadly. In terms of speed he can pretty much get by anyone, and not to mention the fact that he is a freakish athlete and has a wingspan just short of Kevin Durant‘s. He’s shooting well, stretching the floor and getting out in transition.
For the first time in a long time last night, I saw Green having fun. I didn’t see hesitation – I saw urgency and confidence.
This is one of the hardest parts of the game to pick back up after sitting out a whole season with a life threatening condition. Green has at times seemed a bit too pensive on the court for his own good. Lately, he has not been that player.
Last night he threw down three or four posterizing thunderous dunks over a pitiful Orlando Magic defense. We all know he can dunk, but last night he himself knew he was going to before he even did, and with a rare fist pump and even a smile or two shining through a poker face, it really appears as if he’s finally hitting his stride. He gave a balanced and valuable effort last night for his squad, leading all scorers with 17 points, pulling down four rebounds, four assists, and three blocks and overall playing a huge 30 minutes.
If he has stat lines like that every night, Boston is going to prove that they are a great deal better than an eighth seed in the East even without key players who shall not be named, and they will be an unwanted match-up to anyone come the postseason if Green continues to grow at this rate.
In re-watching some film from the 100-98 victory over the Miami Heat, I saw a fiery eagerness from Green to disrupt LeBron James and do his best to match up with him. He did an admirable job. When I looked close enough in long spurts his individual defense was actually outstanding on James, I can’t recall a time when I saw James appear timid to waltz into the paint and finish on whatever side he felt like that night. On the offensive end, Green even blew by James once or twice in emphatic fashion. It all comes in glimpses before it grows into nightly normals.
Green has golden opportunities ahead and a chance to grow into elite form. His whole career is right in front of him. He’s simply too rare to fail. Patience will be key, but I no longer think he’s going to make us wait that long. We’ll all be hearing his name a lot more shortly, put it in the books.