Friday, May 19 – Cavaliers at Celtics
Pregame – Green Gets the Start in Game 2
BOSTON – The Boston Celtics struggled out of the gate Wednesday night, as they scored just 19 first-quarter points during their Game 1 loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers. They’re hoping Gerald Green will be the solution to their early offensive woes.
Green will enter the starting lineup tonight in place of Amir Johnson, which is the same move that coach Brad Stevens made during Boston’s first-round series with Chicago. The Celtics lost the first two games of the Bulls series with Green on the bench, but went on to win the next four with him in the starting rotation.
Stevens said that a “similar thought process” went into tonight’s decision. He knows that having a small-ball approach means the C’s will likely experience a disadvantage on the boards, but he’s willing to sacrifice that for better shooting.
“There’s things when you go small that are not advantages, and things that you’ve got to be able to soar with that are strengths,” Stevens ahead of Friday’s 8:30 p.m. tip-off. “Obviously when you’re small, your guards have to do a great job. If they end up in a rotation on (Tristan) Thompson or (Kevin) Love specifically of blocking out and everybody has got to pursue the ball. It’s like we said in the Chicago series – we’re not making this move expecting to win the glass by 15. If we can manage it and be solid in that regard and make it as tough as possible and not turn it over on the other end and get good shots and knock them down, then that’s your way of managing it.”
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue called Boston’s lineup change a “smart” response to its early struggles during Game 1.
“It gives them some more shooting on the floor to try to spread the floor,” said Lue. “It’s the same thing they did in the Chicago series, which helped them out. We’re just trying to do a good job of taking the ball out of Isaiah’s hands, so to get another shooter on the floor [is] smart.”
Green is capable of heating up quickly, as he proved during Game 1. He scored 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, during just 14 minutes off the bench.
Green’s been a valuable piece for Boston at various points of the season because he’s almost always been able to contribute despite playing a situational role.
“Gerald has been ready when called upon all year in a unique year for him,” said Stevens. “He got hurt in training camp, hardly played at all until Christmas, played in the Christmas Day game (against the Knicks), and then played a lot while Avery (Bradley) was out, but didn’t play a lot in March. But he’s always been ready, and he always stays ready.”
There’s no question that the veteran guard will be ready to go tonight, as well. Green is always chomping at the bit to play, and more often than not he heats up like a microwave when placed into a game.
Tune in at 8:30 p.m. to see if that remains true during Game 2.
– Taylor C. Snow