Monday, September 30, 2013

What to expect from Jeff Green this season

Jared Wickerham/ Getty Images
We have been asking the question since the day the Boston Celtics traded the beloved Kendrick Perkins for him. What can we expect from Jeff Green?

There has been a lot of chatter this offseason about Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyc. The “core four” if you will, but with Rondo’s knee injury a lot of people forget that Green is going to be the best player on this team on opening night, and potentially a major building block towards the future.

Jeff Green clearly has All-Star potential; the fans have all seen it. Remember that 43 point game head to head against LeBron James? Green is an athletic 6’9 combo forward that can handle the ball, get to the hoop and shoot from outside. So what is it that separates him from the other stars in the league? There is one factor that defines individual success in the NBA, consistency, and Jeff Green lacks it.

For every All-Star type performance, there was also a six point game, but looking back, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. Green has played behind Kevin Durant and Paul Pierce, not to mention an open-heart procedure that he probably just fully recovered from this past summer. Maybe the surgery is to blame for a scattered first year back on the court?

So lets wipe the slate clean for Jeff Green. This can be a fresh start for him, not to show us what he is capable of, but to show us he can do it night in and night out. It is not unreasonable to expect Green’s 12.8 PPG in 2012-13 to improve to 20 PPG this year. Under contract for two more seasons, Green needs to prove that he can be the 20 PPG scorer he was drafted to be.

If his consistency issues remain, Jeff Green could be a trade chip in the 2014-15 season that helps Boston further rebuild, or simply a player they let walk in the summer of 2015. Either way the time is now for Jeff Green, his play will determine how long his stay in Beantown will last.

Follow Julian on Twitter @BleedGreenBlogs

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

John Wall predicts playoffs for the Wiz... who finishes 6-8 in the East?

Red Hubard/ Orlando Sentinel
This is no crazy talk by John Wall; the Washington Wizards have as good a shot as any team in the East to head to the playoffs in April. Like Chris Broussard hints at in this video clip, there are five teams all but locked into a postseason birth: the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, and Indiana Pacers.

This leaves three seeds wide open for the remaining 10 teams in the conference to battle for. Take a glance at the teams and their rosters… can we really count anyone out? Well sure we can, we can count the abomination that is the Charlotte Bobcats out. But that’s about it! 

Unfortunately, the Boston Celtics have all the talent that it may require to grab one of those last three seeds (even if Rajon Rondo doesn’t debut until December). Looks like I gave away my stance on the 2013-14 season, get a top pick! Loaded drafts like 2014 do not come along often, let alone come on the first year you decide to go into a rebuild. I think Danny Ainge knows this, and will put the C’s in the best position he can for the future, and not for this season. Jordan Crawford at point guard? Why not.

With that said, in no particular order, here are the three teams out of the East that will prove they have what it takes to sneak into the playoffs… and who knows, maybe even make some noise:

David Liam Kyle /NBAE/ Getty Images
The Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs are returning their entire young core, which even after only 24 wins last year, showed impressive flashes. They only got 59 games out of their superstar, Kyrie Irving, who was still able to average 22.5 PPG and 5.9 APG. Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, and Tyler Zeller round out the rest of the young studs that contributed last season. Lets not forget about rebounding machine Anderson Varejao either.

But the Cavs bulked up their roster significantly during the offseason; first by adding Andrew Bynum, a risky move. Personally I am not a Bynum backer, I do not think he can stay healthy nor do I like his attitude. Still, lets say he gives them 50 games at 80%... that will surely make a difference. On top of Bynum Cleveland also added Anthony Bennett with the number one overall draft pick in June. The 6’8 power forward has a lot of developing to do, but can at least be expected to contribute right away. And finally the Cavs reinforced their backcourt, bringing in the veteran Jarrett Jack to keep pressure on Irving and Waiters.

The Detroit Pistons: We have a completely unrecognizable team in the the motor city. So without getting too deep into it, let me just go over the roster the Pistons will be rolling out on opening night.
Getty Images/ NBA

Detroit has retained their two-headed monster in the frontcourt with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, the building blocks of this team. Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva have stuck around. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Tony Mitchell have been drafted. Oh and Corey Maggette, Chauncey Billups, Brandon Jennings, and Josh Smith have all been added. Don’t worry about last year, this is a new team.

Mark Duncan/ AP Photo
The Washington Wizards: Ask and you shall receive, John Wall. But in all seriousness the Wiz are absolutely talented enough to go out and get it done this season. Last year they posted a 5-28 record without Wall and a 24-25 record with him. So we are already talking about a .500 team with Wall healthy.

Give me a healthy Emeka Okafor and Nene and now we’re talking. We will have to wait and see what Bradley Beal and Otto Porter turn into, but in the meantime Trevor Ariza and Al Harrington are there to cover for them. Glen Rice Jr. could be a sleeper on this team.

Although not as deep as our previous two teams, the Wizards seem top heavy enough to fight their way in when healthy.

Follow Julian on twitter @BleedGreenBlogs

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Training Camp Spotlight Sure to be on Pressey

With training camp right around the corner, a whole lot of fresh faces are going to get good looks at the Boston Celtics 2013 training camp. Legends will be replaced by kids fighting for roster spots - looking to become the faces of a new era in Boston.

One of those faces that could be called upon more heavily is twenty-two year old Phil Pressey. Pressey went un-drafted in 2013 despite leaving Missouri after his junior year. But Danny Ainge (a teammate of Pressey's father in Boston) had his eye on Phil for a while. Ainge called Pressey to bring him to Orlando to play for the Celtic's summer league team just moments after the draft ended.

In Orlando Pressey averaged 9.4 PPG and 6.6 APG, going over 10 assists in each of Boston's final two games - a nice surprise. With Rajon Rondo's return still uncertain, Pressey is the only true point guard that will be at Boston's camp. Assuming Pressey can make the team, his ball handling skills could play a big role to open up the regular season. Although Avery Bradley seems like the overwhelming pick to start at the point during Rondo's absence, Pressey is the dark horse.

Bradley has always been uncomfortable handling the ball, something that comes natural to Pressey since his days at Waltham High School. Despite being only 5'8, Pressey makes up for size with speed, court vision and a smooth jump shot. Click here to see Pressey's latest interview about making this Celtic's team.

In all likely hood Pressey is not going to be a long term star for this franchise. But it is not too much to ask of him to be a solid backup to Rondo, something the Celtics lacked in recent years. It's a long shot, but Phil Pressey may get a chance to be very important to this team very early.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

McCarty to Join Celtic's Staff

Former Boston Celtics forward Walter McCarty (1997-2005) will be re-joining the team for the 2013-14 season, this time as an assistant coach. McCarty will be able to provide valuable insight to head coach Brad Stevens who is brand new to the NBA scene.

It is also highly speculated that McCarty has been brought on to help bond with the difficult personality that is Rajon Rondo. Both are former Kentucky Wildcats, which figures to factor in. Walter was a fan favorite during his time in Boston, and should be welcomed back with open arms by the fan base.

Although this move does nothing to improve the Celtics gloomy potential short term success, this is a nice hire for coach Stevens down the line.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lots to Discuss

Bleed Green has been absent for a while, but it's back and we have plenty to cover before training camp begins... This happened:

Followed by this:

And now the Boston Celtics are in a full fledged rebuilding stage led by one of the hottest young coaches in the game, Brad Stevens. Rajon Rondo is now the familiar vet on the roster (for now), and continuing to rehab his torn ACL. 

The Celtics are shifting in new faces all over their roster, in the form of young players, high potential draft picks, and veterans who could be here for a short stay; and shifting out two hall of famers of course in Kevin Garnett and lifetime Celtic Paul Pierce... a burning image.

Rookie Kelly Olynyk looked fantastic in summer league and could be one of this season's top freshman. Olynyk played well enough for Danny Ainge and crew to ship off Fab Melo. We can't quite say the future is looking bright in Boston yet, but it certainly has the potential to if management plays their cards right. 

Bleed Green will have blog posts coming up about all of this and more and will be back to following the Celtics up to date. Times may get tough this year, but it will be as exciting as every for us diehards (maybe not 2008 exciting) as we keep our eyes on the future. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Game 6 Preview

The Celtics and Knicks will tip off game 6 of their best of seven series Friday night at the TD Garden in what has turned into the wild series we all expected from the start. All the pressure has finally shifted to the Knicks after guaranteeing a game 5 victory by wearing all black for a Celtics funeral. After that gutsy showing by Boston they will have the chance to even the series and force a game 7 tonight.

Even though the pressure may now be on New York, there are several keys to the game that the Celtics must control to win a trip back to New York. The first key has to be keeping Raymond Felton out of the paint. One of the biggest surprises thus far has been Avery Bradley's inability to keep Felton in front of him. Game 5 Felton was scoring around the basket at will. Maybe Terrence Williams will see some minutes on him, or even the rebirth of Courtney Lee as the Ray Felton stopper. Hopefully Doc figures something out by Friday night. 

Another key to this game specifically is going to be containing Carmelo Anthony to start the game. Jordan Crawford made stupid comments to Melo after game 5 which could potentially light a fire under Melo heading into tonight. The Celtics have handled Anthony well lately though, specifically Brandon Bass. Not a smart move by Crawford though, no reason to give the best player any extra motivation for a road closeout game...

Games seem to be changing when Jason Terry enters them. After a horrible start to the series, Terry has given a big scoring boost to the Celts. He has been infinitely more valuable than Bradley, especially if Bradley continues to have problems with Felton. Point here being get JET in early and often in game 6.

The final key is keeping Kevin Garnett as heavily involved as he has been. Garnett has been dominant in all phases of the game. Although Paul Pierce and Jason Terry have been contributors Garnett's rebounding, defense and low post touches remain the most important part of the Celtics game plan. 

Hopefully the three vets combine with Bass' defense on Anthony and the wildcard we know as Jeff Green can rise to the challenge and get this one done. Boston is playing with house money in their own building. The Knicks scare me, but I don't think Celtics fans are nearly as worried as Knick fans as game 6 approaches. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013


This was the gutsy performance green teamers have been waiting for. We all thought they were done, including myself, just keeping their heads above water in game 4 for pride. But game 5 proved the Celtics are playing for far more and truly believe they can win this series. Just click here and ask Kevin Garnett (video at bottom).

What a balanced effort from the Celtics in a game where Doc Rivers cut the rotation to seven players, one of which was Terrence Williams. Brandon Bass kept Boston in the game early after going down 11-0. Bass finished with 17 points, Jeff Green had 18, Paul Pierce 16 and Jason Terry 17 including some clutch second half three pointers. Kevin Garnett (despite STILL only getting up nine field goals) had his game of the series again; he totaled 16 points to go with 18 boards, five assists and two blocks. Garnett now has 52 rebounds in his last three games.

On the other end of the ball, the Celtics limited Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith to 38 points (a couple garbage time threes by J.R.) on 11-for-38 shooting. The result will be a pressure filled game 6 at the TD Garden for the Knicks.

Don't think we will be seeing the Knicks in all black arriving to game 6 in Boston. Keep in mind the Knicks did dominate a game this series in Boston, but the Knicks will be showing up with a much different feeling in their stomach to this game I'm sure.

The Celtics have a golden opportunity to send this series to a seventh game, playing with all the momentum, in their home building on what will be a rowdy Friday night at the Garden. And the saying is true, anything can happen come game 7. We all remember what happened game 6 of the Eastern Finals at home against the Heat last year, win and earn a trip to the Finals... although the stakes are not as high, the Celtics need to win this one to even stay alive.

Keep an eye out for Bleed Green's game 6 preview, how can we keep Ray Felton out of the paint? And be sure to follow on twitter @bleedgreenblogs  - click here for a link to our twitter feed.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

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What's Going on with KG?

Despite some of the numbers you may see in the box score, Kevin Garnett has not been himself in the series against the Knicks. His scoring is primarily where the problem lies - 11.3 points per game. Down from 14.8 in the regular season; this is a number we expect to grow in the playoffs. If not for rising his level of play, simply for the fact that Doc Rivers saves many of Garnett's big minute games for the postseason.

Lets examine KG game by game:

Game 1: eight points (4-12 FG), nine rebounds, and four assists in 37 minutes. This is his worst game of the series to date. We gave him a mulligan on this one but KG clearly was not ready for the big stage. Only 12 shots was of concern.

Game 2: 12 points (4-9 FG), 11 rebounds to go with an assist in 24 minutes. Foul trouble plagued KG throughout this contest. Doc made a point of going to him early on offense, but the fouls made it impossible for him to find a rhythm. You would just like to see Garnett play a little smarter after having five fouls in game 1 to pickup two fouls in the first four minutes of game 2.

Game 3: 12 points (5-13 FG), 17 rebounds, two assists in 34 minutes. Garnett was complimented for playing hard and not giving up on this game. That is how he plays every night. None of this is a play hard issue, but a productivity issue. The FG attempts are up, but still not where they need to be. If they were with higher assist numbers it would be more clear he was getting his touches, but used more as a distributer.

Game 4: 13 points (5-7 FG), 17 rebounds, six assists in 37 minutes. This was KG's best game of the series... BUT seven shots attempted! This is Hall of Fame Kevin Garnett, too selfless at times. I've always said you can tell when KG is at his best (post knee operation) when he is rebounding. Well he pulled down 34 total boards in the two games in Boston, but he still was not himself. 13 points on seven shots is more than efficient, so why would that player not take 15 shots?

Averages: 11.3 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 3.3 APG in 33.0 minutes...10.3 FG attempts per game.

More simply put, if Garnett is healthy (he may not be), he NEEDS to be taking more shots for the Celtics to be successful. If he truly is the ultimate team player, he will realize his own personal production is sometimes most valuable to the Celtics' winning.

His rebounding is there which means he seems to have his legs under him, and Doc will certainly give him the minutes if KG is not in foul trouble. He needs to play smart and look for his shot. A little less fading away in the post and a little more attacking the basket could mean the difference. Catching the ball deeper in the paint could be the difference. Garnett is a tremendous jump shooter, but at 6'11 needs to establish his paint presence.

Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin clearly are not going to back away from the challenge of getting physical, so KG is going to have to rise to the challenge himself. Accepting that Chandler and Martin share that same intimidation factor that he does despite being smaller names may help get him there.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Celtics Force Game 5

The Celtics came out and started game 4 just like fans wanted them to. They showed emotion and played with Celtic Pride. Until Boston faltered and found themselves in a familiar second half slump. The Celtics were pummeled in the third quarter (outscored by Ray Felton alone), watching a 20 point lead fall to three after Felton beat the buzzer from downtown.

It was happening again. The Knicks were going to sweep after the Celtics blew their third halftime lead of the series and didn't even bother to show up game 3.

Then the elders finally showed they still had a pulse (it only took going to overtime in game 4 down 0-3), and were able to keep New York from taking out the brooms. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry were terrific. Pierce kept them in it the whole game (played 50 minutes), KG provided timely scores while hauling in 17 rebounds and setting up teammates with six dimes. There was actually a JET sighting as Terry scored the last nine points of the OT period to put Boston ahead for good.

It was a nice win, and like I said, if there is a team and a city that deserves this comeback, it is the 2013 Boston Celtics. Now back to reality.

The Celtics really JUST played well enough to win. Felton was fantastic, but J.R. Smith sat out (suspension) and Carmelo Anthony shot 10-for-35 on FG attempts. Really nothing too impressive by the Celtics that should indicate any concern for the Knicks in game 5. The Celtics should win that game without a need for overtime. Heck they should have won while resting their starters the last five minutes.

What's even scarier is when thinking about if Boston does win game 5. The hype would normally be about Boston's chance to even the series, and nationally would be. Many locally would find it hard not to think about how the Celtics got throttled on the last Friday night game when the series shifted to the TD Garden. Not to get too far ahead, but it is telling how much trust this team has lost.

Every game is game 7 for Boston and the Celtics showed that they know that now. The Knicks have yet to feel any pressure in the series, a Celtics game 5 win would change that. Doc Rivers will have them preparing one game at a time; so far watching them cling on to life was not pretty. We'll see if it's any prettier Wednesday night in New York.