Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/9/14
If eight preseason games seemed like an unnecessarily high number, the one Celtics player who stood to gain the most from the long warmup was Jeff Green. Following his long layoff due to heart surgery, the 26-year-old forward figured to need some extra reps to get back into game shape. As it turns out, the guy who had not played an organized game in 15 months hardly needed any time at all. Few players have looked as sharp as Green, who added to his stellar preseason with a 25-point showing in Saturday's 109-98 win over the New York Knicks in Albany, N.Y. Green claimed in a tweet on Friday that he is not back to full strength. Whether or not that is true, Green has stood out at both ends of the floor with a vigor surpassing anybody else on the court. The offseason training regimen he described to everybody this summer apparently was no myth. He is running, jumping, shooting, dribbling and passing as well as he ever has, and so far he is arguably the Celtics' most valuable player of the exhibition season. Green's full repertoire was on display Saturday. He drained three 3-pointers in five attempts as part of a 10-for-16 shooting night and added six rebounds. He provided a defensive highlight when he tracked down Mychel Thompson on a one-on-none fastbreak for one of his two blocked shots and even spent some time playing a de facto shooting guard, as though Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and now Leandro Barbosa did not give the Celtics enough depth at that position. Now that Green is clearly ready, can we skip the final preseason game and the eight-day layoff before the season opener and just get the 2012-13 campaign started in Miami? Honestly, Mr. Stern, we promise few people will notice. MICAH-PHONE CHECK When the Celtics cut loose Dionte Christmas and Jamar Smith and signed Barbosa, the roster appeared to be set. Kris Joseph has drawn compliments from his teammates and coaches for his performance in practice, which is pretty much the only place the rookie out of Syracuse has gotten enough playing time to make a reasonable evaluation. But do not eliminate Micah Downs from the conversation yet. Joseph and Downs came off the bench early in Albany, and for the first few minutes Joseph clearly looked like the one who belonged. He moved a lot more confidently and dribbled, passed and shot more decisively than the hard-working, yet unsure, Downs. Then Downs drew a couple of "oohs" with a step-through move for a layup and suddenly the Gonzaga product had a bounce in his step. Shortly after, Downs caught a looping outlet pass, took one dribble and curled the ball behind his back to elude a defender for an open layup. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett's incredulous and impressed reactions from the bench were caught on camera. We all had our warning when Christmas, the presumed favorite to earn one of the 15 roster spots, was waived: Do not assume the coaches have made up their minds already. Joseph could have more competition for the final spot than many people believe. AIRIN' COPELAND The Knicks appear to have an unwritten rule that every big man they employ must either be nursing a debilitating injury or be eligible for Social Security. Kurt Thomas, 40; Rasheed Wallace, 38; Marcus Camby, 38; and Amar'e Stoudemire, who is only 29 but is battling a bruised left knee, are all under contract with the Knicks. They could use an infusion of youth, even if that "youth" is only relatively youthful. Chris Copeland has been described as a "kid" this preseason because he has never appeared in a regular-season NBA game. Copeland is actually 28, though, and he played professionally for five years in Europe after graduating from the University of Colorado in 2006. He came onto the Knicks' radar partly due to a strong 19-game stint with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBADL five years ago. Still, age ain't nothing but a number, as the Knicks evidently believe. Off pure performance in the preseason, Copeland deserves a spot on New York's roster. Copeland torched the Celtics for 21 points in the Knicks' overtime win in Hartford, Conn., but then Saturday came and the 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward showed the C's that they had seen nothing yet. Copeland matched his output from that game in less than 15 minutes of floor time in Albany and finished with 34 points in the losing effort. Although he had not shown much against any team other than the Celtics -- he scored seven points total on nine shots against the Raptors and Wizards -- Copeland decimated Boston, particularly on the pick and roll. He showed he could roll to the hoop or step back for a jump shot -- even a 3-pointer or two (or three, on Saturday) -- and get to the foul line. That last bit contributed massively to his big nights against the Celtics. He shot 9-for-13 in Hartford and 9-for-9 in Albany, all with a workmanlike, physical game that the Knicks could use off the bench. Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

LT thinks Philip Rivers won’t play for Chargers in 2015

Report: Kevin Ollie 'seriously considered' for Thunder job

Floyd Mayweather: I'm a better fighter than Muhammad Ali

Video emerges of Warren Sapp talking about prostitute arrest

Chip Kelly in 2011: Tim Tebow is not our team's QB type

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

NBA commissioner: Sports gambling is 'good for business'

RG3 'wouldn't be bummed' if Redskins don't pick up option

Adrian Peterson would be the death of the Cowboys

Raptors GM fined $35K for comment about Paul Pierce

Report: Bucs open to trade offers for number one pick

Lou Williams named NBA's Sixth Man of the Year

Hall of Famer Jim Palmer blasts David Ortiz over ejection

WATCH: President Obama leads 'O-H-I-O' chant

Fred Hoiberg shares video of him walking after heart surgery

DeAndre Jordan geeks out at Batman Exhibit

Philly welcomes Tim Tebow with 'tebowing' pretzel

Marshall Henderson trolls Erin Andrews over Stoll arrest

Steve Ballmer turned Lakers locker room into owner's lounge

Alex Rodriguez: Heir to the Empire

The Tim Tebow lottery ticket

Ranking the Big Ten college towns

Islanders fans already stealing Nassau Coliseum seats

Aaron Rodgers celebrated 4/20 with weird tweets?

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Mayweather: I'm better than Ali

WATCH: Sapp talks prostitute arrest

Jim Palmer blasts David Ortiz

Wayne Taylor Racing No. 10 car wins at Long Beach

Pat Riley takes shot at LeBron?

Philly welcomes Tim Tebow with 'tebowing' pretzel

Stop the Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady debate

Alex Rodriguez: Heir to the Empire

The Tim Tebow lottery ticket

If Tony Parker's not right, it's going to go wrong for Spurs

So the Mets might be contenders

Why Billy Donovan won't go to Oklahoma City

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

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

Company Info
Help
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.