|By beating the Pacers downcourt, Jeff Green earned plenty of easy looks at the basket. (Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff)|
Green pulls a fast one
The Celtics appeared to be going nowhere fast for most of the first half of a 92-80 win over the Pacers last night.
In the second quarter, though, the Celtics got some traction. Suddenly, they were running. And Jeff Green seemed to be moving the fastest.
After falling behind by 5 points, a mini-rally provided the Celtics with a lead they would not relinquish. Rajon Rondo and Delonte West provided the backcourt direction, Green the finishing touch.
Over a 1:33 span, Green scored off a Rondo feed, hit two foul shots after West found him, and connected on a transition 3-pointer off another Rondo pass. That made it 26-23 with six minutes remaining in the half, and also made it clear the Celtics could win despite the starters’ sluggishness.
Green scored 15 of the Celtics’ first 29 points (in less than 13 minutes of playing time), and likely could have been on the way to a 30-point night, if necessary. But the Celtic starters found a rhythm in the second half, and Green took on a complementary role as the second unit closed things out.
“Just doing our job, trying to create for the team,’’ Green said of the reserves’ performance. “Spark up a little run. The second unit came in and collectively gave a big spark.’’
Green, who finished with 19 points, and Rondo have developed a symbiotic relationship. Green sprints to the basket and Rondo rewards him.
“I run the floor, he finds me,’’ Green said. “You seen some of the passes he made. It’s a beautiful thing when you’ve got a guard that can pass the ball like Rondo. I kind of credit myself as a guy who can get out in the open floor and run. When you’ve got a guard who can pass the way he can pass, it’s fun. I know he loves it when the guy converts it and I try and do my best to make sure it’s not a turnover and I try to give him an assist.’’
Green and Rondo have been on the same page, partly because they see the game at a similar speed. And Green does not plan to slow down.
Asked what he thought the result of a race with Rondo would be, Green replied: “I would win, definitely. I run a 4.2 40; I’m lying. I’m pretty fast. It would be a tight match.’’
The reserves changed the matchup dynamic, Green causing major problems for the Pacers.
“We’re just going to try find mismatches, whether it’s me, [Glen Davis], Delonte,’’ Green said. “I’m going to try and do my best on post-ups.
“I just go out there and be aggressive, just go out and play hard. You play hard and it makes up for a lot of things. Lately, it’s been great for us. We’ve just got to continue to do that.
“It’s important for us to get a good chemistry, especially going into the playoffs, and taking advantage of our offense. I think a lot of the second unit has been going in on offdays. We practice running plays, getting used to each other, where we like to be, spacing. Gives a lot of credit to the hard work we put in — to the point where we get that chemistry. That’s what it takes.’’
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.