BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics want Jeff Green to be aggressive every time he takes the floor.
They want the combo forward to play with a certain swagger and confidence that will give him an edge against opponents.
It was on full display in Wednesday night’s 98-93 win over Utah, and Celtics fans have a new poster to hang on their walls because of it.
With 7:34 left in the game and the Celtics holding on to a four-point lead, Green delivered a monstrous dunk over Jazz forward (and former Celtic) Al Jefferson. It brought the crowd and the Celtics bench to their feet, and just added to Green’s every-growing confidence.
“It felt great,” said Green. “I mean, I have been playing a little lackadaisical, as far as the effort before the prior couple games. So, it felt good to get that; it kind of boosts your confidence up and it gets you going a little bit.”
“It was huge, in a lot of ways,” head coach Doc Rivers said of the jam. “It was a great dunk; it was great for the team, it was great to see all the guys cheering for him, great to see the crowd. So, those are little plays that will just keep him going, and it keeps him aggressive.”
“I just tried to make a play at the rim, and I just got higher than Al,” said Green. “That’s about it. It’s two points and it kept us a good lead, so it was a good play. Hopefully it will be on ‘SportsCenter.’ We’ll see.”
Read: Celtics-Nets Preview
After the play, the normally reserved Green was assessed a technical foul for staring down Jefferson. Kevin Garnett said over the weekend he wanted the nice-guy Green to be a… well… the word you get when you mix a donkey and the middle of a donut. Following the jam, Garnett also had some words for Green, telling him that was exactly what he wanted to see, with an expletive thrown into the mix (in classic KG fashion).
“I can’t tell you [what he said],” Green said. “I mean, use your imagination — think Kevin Garnett. Let’s just say it was explicit. You know, he said it to me the other day — what I need to be. That’s basically what he said.”
After a frustrating start to the season, Green has now put together a string of three straight games with strong performances, with Wednesday night’s 16 points on five-for-nine shooting his best so far. He also added four rebounds and two assists over 27 minutes, helping spark the Celtics bench.
As for the technical, it may be the only time Rivers and the Celtics are okay with a fourth quarter ‘T.’ In fact, his teammates are going to pitch in and cover the fine that goes with it.
“We all pitched in for him, because Jeff doesn’t get many techs,” guard Jason Terry said. “So, we kind of liked it,”
It may be a small sample, but the Celtics are finally getting what they want out of Jeff Green. Now it’s up to him to keep it up — or in other words, keep being that (expletive deleted).
But he’ll always have a picture to inspire him. And so will Al Jefferson.
Follow Matthew Geagan on Twitter @MattyGWBZ