Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 9/17/14
For the second time in three weeks, Jeff Green delivered a game-winning layup on an expertly diagrammed play. But he was not the hero for the Celtics on Wednesday. Rather, the hero was Jason Terry. It was Brandon Bass. Or maybe it was Jordan Crawford. All three of those players, who are not known for their defense, contributed to a strong defensive effort down the stretch that helped the Celtics wipe out a 14-point deficit to the Cavaliers and set up Green’s shot, which halted Boston’s five-game losing streak. Green was the focus of much of the postgame discussion, all of it deserved. When he rolled off a solid down screen by Terry, who was shoved forcefully by Cavs defender Luke Walton, and careened to the hoop for a banked-in layup was time expired, everybody in green exhaled. For the better part of six games, the Celtics mishandled the ball and struggled to complete defensive possessions, with Tuesday’s 29-6 deficit in second-chance points against the Knicks magnifying the problem. Yet somewhere in the fourth quarter in Cleveland, something clicked. Even the guy who hit the final shot knew he was not the only one who came through in the clutch. “We got stops,” Green said. “We started getting rebounds, not allowing them to get second-chance points. We got out in transition. We got easy baskets. Jordan played tremendous. Terrence [Williams] gave us great minutes. Brandon played phenomenal. We’ve got to just continue this.” The overall statistics for this game will read like another underwhelming night at the office for the Celtics. They lost the battle on the offensive glass, 9-2, and had 13 turnovers after three quarters. Aside from Bass, who scored a team-high 22 points in 37 strong minutes, every Celtics player alternated good possessions with bad ones. Even Paul Pierce, who filled up the box score with 19 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and two blocked shots, added seven turnovers in an uneven performance. But there was a palpable shift in the final six minutes, when the Celtics suddenly took away everything that had been working for the Cavs. Cleveland scored four points after the 5:49 mark and did not grab a single offensive rebound in that stretch, while the Celtics committed only one turnover the rest of the game. The Celtics held the Cavs to just one offensive board in the entire second half, none in the fourth quarter, and cut down their own turnovers to only five after halftime. Those adjustments let the Celtics come back despite shooting a worse percentage overall and from 3-point range than the Cavs in the second half. Celtics coach Doc Rivers‘ choice for his five players to finish the game therefore was fitting. Rivers went with Pierce, naturally, who had hit a short, stumbling fade-away jump shot two possessions earlier to pull Boston within one point. He sent out Terry, whose on-ball defense against Shaun Livingston after Pierce’s shot set up Green’s game-winner. There was Crawford, who scored nine second-half points to keep the Celtics’ hopes alive, and Avery Bradley, who is never far away when great defense is discussed. And of course there was Green, playing in the city where he underwent life-changing surgery last year, in front of the doctor who performed the procedure to correct Green’s aortic aneurysm, coming through with the highlight that would never have been possible without the defensive efforts put forth minutes earlier. After more than a week of looking out of it, it was fitting that the Celtics finally showed some heart in the city where Green’s heart was fixed. Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here. 
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jim Kelly: There is no doubt Tom Brady cheated

Warriors hang on, edge Rockets in Game 2 thriller

Farrell 'not ruling anything out' as Red Sox's struggles persist

Gretzky: Connor McDavid could be the next Gretzky

Bucs' Clint McDonald: Jameis Winston already leading team


Dana White: Rousey vs. Cyborg would break UFC PPV record

Report: Smith child abuse investigation 'sexual in nature'

DeGale: ‘At the end of the day I’m better’ than Dirrell

Belichick suspected Tom Brady wasn't being honest with him

Johnny Manziel to be a full participant in OTAs

Ex-players sue NFL for conspiring to push painkillers

Ranking the NBA Playoffs' most significant injuries

WATCH: Will Smith ejected for foreign substance on arm

Guy behind NFL's social media trolling of Pats is a Jets fan?

In defense of 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie

Madison Bumgarner homered off of Clayton Kershaw

Would both Towns, Okafor prefer not being the No. 1 pick?

Spoiler Alert Central: Pitfalls in online viewing of live sports

NYPD officer takes photo with 'Eli's brother' at Letterman

Post-combine NBA Draft big board: Top 30

NFL suspends Bills Marcell Dareus for violating substance abuse policy

Astros surprising, but can get better with prospects like Correa

JR Smith prefers taking contested shots to open shots

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jim Kelly: No doubt Tom Brady cheated

Post-combine NBA Draft big board: Top 30

Ex-players sue NFL for conspiring to push painkillers

Astros surprising, but can get better with Correa

Here come the Giants

Aaron Hernandez got new tattoo in prison

TUF weekly recap by NOS® Energy Drink

Ten players who could benefit due to PAT rule change

Five QBs set for breakout campaigns

Report: Lakers will pursue Thibodeau

MLS leaders struggling with attendance

LBS: I was a contestant on Sports Jeopardy!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.