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Green put up 43 points in a losing effort, but attacked the basket aggressively and dominated the game for the first three quarters. It’s the kind of performance Celtics fans have expected from Green since his arrival at the 2011 trade deadline, and even more so after he inked a four-year deal this off-season.
Celtics VP of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Felger & Mazz on Tuesday, and while he doesn’t expect numbers like that every night out of Green, his overall consistency is what he envisioned when he traded for him two years ago.
“Jeff has been playing very good basketball over the last 25 games,” said Ainge. “Jeff’s consistency has been remarkable. Obviously 43 points, seven rebounds and the four blocks are unique performances and out of the ordinary, but you can see what Jeff is doing; knocking down three-point shots and getting to the hole and the lanes, the free throw line. That was all huge last night.”
What’s frustrating about Green is he’ll put up big numbers one game, and then not even be a blip on the radar the next. Mazz brought up last Sunday’s showing against the Oklahoma City Thunder when Green scored eight points off 2-for-11 shooting over 28 minutes, but Ainge quickly shot that down.
“That’s crazy. That’s like taking away from a pitcher that goes out and throws a no-hitter; obviously he’s not going to throw a no-hitter each time. He goes out and gives us six runs and ‘you say which guy is it?’ That’s a sport, that’s the nature of the game,” said Ainge. “Jeff Green Is not LeBron James, Kevin Durant or Larry Bird. He’s a very good player and a very important player for us.”
“If you look at his last 23 games, since the Rondo injury, Jeff’s offensive efficiency is like fifth in the league. That’s really all you can ask for, because the way we play we need different guys. We don’t have a Durant or Kobe to score 30 points every night we need different guys to step up every night,” said Ainge.
The Celtics have played well without point guard Rajon Rondo, leading many to believe the team is better without him. What is Danny’s take on that?
“Our team has played better, but what’s interesting is when we went on our first winning streak Rajon was playing great basketball. Then we went on a losing streak and Rondo was one of the few guys playing good. Then Rajon gets hurt and we’ve responded well, with a couple bombs, in the last 20 games. This is the pattern we’ve been with or without Rajon,” explained Ainge. “We did the same thing last year; we were miserable and had a terrible basketball team and then we went out and had a great second half and almost got Miami.”
Ainge said he loves having both Rondo and Avery Bradley on the floor at the same time, and it sounds highly unlikely either guard will be shopped come the off-season.
“I can’t envision any scenario, no. I love those guys,” said Ainge. “Rondo is right in the prime of his career and Avery isn’t even there yet – he’s going to continue to get better. I think they’re a great guard combo. To even consider something like that would have to be something significant.”
Also, does Ainge think the Celtics can beat the Heat in a seven-game series? And will Green be ready to take over for Paul Pierce when that time comes? Find out that, and a quick Kevin Garnett health update, with Danny Ainge: