Can Celtics stay afloat with Jeff Green as a main man?
Be proud, Celtics fans – you now have a longer winning streak than the Miami Heat.
While the Heat’s 27-game winning streak was snapped by the Bulls on Wednesday, the Celtics snapped a streak of their own – a five game losing streak – thanks to a buzzer-beating layup by Jeff Green to earn Boston a 93-92 win over the Cavs.
Cleveland was where Green had his heart operated on last year, so it’s only fitting that he rip out the hearts of Cavs fans watching from the sidelines. It’s also a representation of just how far he’s come. Since the start of February (26 games), Green is averaging 15.8 points while shooting 48.3 percent from the field in 32.4 minutes per game. He’s also averaging 4.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.5 blocks.
Green’s hit two game-winners in that span too – the one Wednesday night, and another against the Pacers on the road. He’s proven to be one of Doc Rivers’ go-to guys in clutch situations.
“He wanted the ball,” Rivers told reporters of Green after the win in Cleveland. “He asked for it. When you’re in a timeout and guys are staring at you, they’re telling you they want the ball. Most guys look down because they don’t want the ball. But he clearly wanted the ball. I sensed that, and I think everybody sensed that.”
For the Celtics to string wins together without Kevin Garnett (ankle inflammation), they’ll need Green to step up the way he did Wednesday night, as well as other bench players in Jordan Crawford, Jason Terry, and Chris Wilcox.
Rivers plans on changing the starting lineup around depending on the opponent.
“Yeah, every night. I don’t even know now who we’re going to start against Atlanta (Friday, 7:30 p.m., CSN), but we just have to figure it out, and everybody has to be in on it,” Rivers said Wednesday. “We can’t have any guys with hurt feelings if they’re not playing or not starting or in a different position, and our guys have been really good with that.”
The Hawks start three players 6-foot-8 or bigger, so it’s safe to assume Boston will start big as well.
The C’s will then travel to New York for Easter Sunday (7:30 p.m., CSN). The Knicks had their way with Boston on second-chance points Tuesday (29-6), so having a bigger presence on the glass is a must.
It’s a tough, but necessary task without Garnett.