These kind of dunks and plays should not come as a surprise to us Celtics’ fans. Not because we are used to these plays, mind you. We haven’t, and there hasn’t been a guy this athletic in Celtics green since probably Gerald Green.
But that was part of the reason that Jeff Green was brought in two years ago in the Kendrick Perkins trade. The Celtics lacked athletes on the wings. Paul Pierce certainly wasn’t one, getting by over the years on skill and guile. Ray Allen used to be one, but he had since been relegated to spot-up shooting duties. Jeff Green was supposed to bring a dynamic to the Celtics’ offense that they coveted.
It never happened. Jeff Green settled for outside shots, didn’t crash the boards, and didn’t play with the athleticism that Celtics fans thought they were getting. There is a reason that a lot of fans wanted a redo on the Kendrick Perkins trade. If Green wasn’t going to be that X-Factor that the Celtics needed to beat the Miami Heat in 2011, then there was no reason to break up the Celtics “family”.
After a near-death experience last year, Green came back ready to go in 2012. Throughout the preseason he showed flashes of what he could do. He crashed the boards, he worked out of the wing and high-post consistently beating guys off the dribble; most of all, he looked like a player that wanted to prove to Celtics fans that there was a reason that Danny Ainge traded for him.
The 2012 regular season had been more of the same so far from Jeff Green. He was a settler, never really wanting to leave his mark on the game night in and night out. Perhaps Wednesday night is the change of that. His 16 points in the win were big, and none were bigger than this slam over Al Jefferson. He had been one of the worst Celtics so far in 2012. If he carries the energy from Wednesday night in and night out, he might soon be the most important.