BOSTON (CBS) — While Rajon Rondo remains the most-scrutinized member of the Boston Celtics, forward Jeff Green isn’t very far behind.
The offensively talented Green has drawn the ire of fans and media alike for his inconsistent play; torching a team for 30 points one night only to follow it up with a single-digit performance the next.
That was the case Sunday and Monday night, when Green lit up the Pelicans for 39 on 12-for-23 shooting in Boston’s hard-fought overtime loss. He scored just five the next night in Dallas while going 2-for-12 from the floor.
It was the perfect example for those that see Green as a consistently inconsistent player. For every 25+ point game he’s had this season (12), he has just as many single-digit nights on the stat sheet. This just feeds in even more for those still upset about Danny Ainge’s deadline day deal in 2011 that brought Green to Boston and sent Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder — breaking up the core of the 2008 NBA Champs.
Green says he ignores all the noise coming from his detractors, and really doesn’t care what they think.
“I can care less about what other people have to say about my performance,” Green told The Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett. “You know, everybody’s entitled to their own opinion, so I really don’t pay attention to it. I’m just trying to come into each year being healthy and being able to play this game.”
While it seems like Green could score 20 points with his eyes closed some nights, he says it isn’t easy to score in the NBA.
“They don’t know, because they haven’t been through it,” he said. “That’s why I say I can care less what people say. They can talk and say whatever they want to say. You know, I don’t give a (expletive). It don’t bother me.”
“You know, the results are roller coaster-ish. You’re going to have good games, and you’re going to have bad games. What I can control is the way I go out there and play, and that’s playing hard. If I make shots, I make shots. If I miss, I miss,” he said. “Like I said. I shoot the same shots. Some days they go in, like (Sunday) night they were going in, and I got to the free throw line. Other games like Phoenix, I shot 2-for-14. You know, same shots. You can look at the tapes. It just depends on whether the shot is falling or not.”
Green’s 17-points-per game this season are a career-high, but he’s doing it by taking four more shots per game and shooting a career-low 41.2 percent from the floor.
Green came to Boston with unfairly high expectations that he would eventually replace Paul Pierce as Boston’s go-to scorer. He struggled in his first few months in Boston, and then missed the entire 2011-12 season after undergoing open heart surgery. He signed a four-year deal that pays him an average of $9 million per year the following year, a salary that further fuels his haters, and only started 17 games for the Celtics in 2012-13 as he came back from the surgery.
Green put up modest numbers in the regular season, but broke out in the playoffs to lead Boston with 20.3 points per game in their six-game series against the New York Knicks. That gave everyone a little more hope that maybe Green could take over when the team was dismantled later that summer.
But now it’s clear that Green won’t be that No. 1 guy, and Danny Ainge has admitted as much. He doesn’t expect Green to be a LeBron James or Kevin Durant, a comment that was meant to take the pressure off his forward as the team headed into a transition year. Green already puts plenty of pressure on himself, but it has nothing to do with the amount of points he scores on a given night.
“I put pressure on myself each game to just go out and perform well,” he told the Herald. “I don’t try to live by other people’s expectations. I’m here to just do my job, and that’s play for coach (Brad) Stevens and for my team. That’s the only pressure I put on myself is just going out there and playing as hard as I can.”
The pressure has been on Green since the day he arrived in Boston, and the criticism wasn’t far behind. Both have been warranted, and both have been brought to extreme levels at times.
His comments won’t win him many more fans among the masses, but Green doesn’t care who loves him and who doesn’t, just as long as he pushes himself and gives his best effort each night.
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