Before Vegas Dunk-Off, Green Puts On Shooting Show

BOSTON - Something of an unknown outside of Boston, Gerald Green's slated to take part in the Slam Dunk contest on Saturday night and he hopes to make a name for himself with some impressive slams. But in the Celtics' last game before the All-Star Break on Wednesday night, Green looked like he was warming up for the Three-Point Shootout instead.

We know the kid can dunk, but when asked how he'd do in a long-distance shootout, Green said he really didn't know how he'd fare. But the facts speak for themselves: He has shown that he can hit the three in game conditions, as he's shooting 42% from behind the arc on the season and knocked down all five of his three-point attempts in the Celtics 117-97 rout of the Milwaukee Bucks.

In case you haven't heard, the win ended a certain little streak as well. The guy teammates call "G-Money" looked pretty automatic, finishing with 21 points on 8-9 shooting, a solid performance to think about on his six hour flight to Las Vegas tomorrow afternoon.

But Wednesday night, Green was just glad that he was able to contribute to a long overdue victory.

"I wouldn't care if I had two points or no points; being a part of a winning team always feels good. I wanted to go to the All-Star Game with the streak over," said Green. "I'm still probably going to hear about it, but we got our win and hopefully we can continue to get some wins."

In the first quarter, it looked like the Celtics could be headed for Number 19, but Green and company staged a second-quarter rally that dismantled a 15-point deficit and removed a zoo's worth of monkeys from the Celtics' collective back.

After spotting the Bucks a 41-26 lead just minutes into the second quarter, Boston turned to Green for four of their eight three pointers that injected new life into a team that had lost 18 straight games and might have dropped another one had Green not stepped up and knocked down some open shots.

"Gerald was phenomenal," Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said. "Obviously that's not the type of scoring you want him every night, just standing behind the three-point line and making them. But they were timely. We need him. We needed him to make those shots."

On the other sideline, Bucks Coach Terry Stotts mentioned noted that his team wasn't ready for an offensive explosion from Green.

"That was a shot in the arm," Stotts said. "As a coach, you like having that X-factor come in and help you and Gerald Green was it tonight. They were kind of down and out, and he got them back in."

Green's shots certainly woke up a Celtics team that tipped off the night looking about as sluggish inside the TD Banknorth Garden as the sleet-stifled traffic was outside the arena. And while Green's been inconsistent lately with his offense, encouragement from Paul Pierce (who dropped 32 in the process) and Rivers had Green looking for his offense when he got the opportunity.

"I told him before the game we need him to come out here just start being more consistent," Pierce said. "He put together a big game in Minnesota and I wanted to challenge him to come out the next night and do that again."

It certainly helps to have other weapons on the floor as well. When Pierce and Wally Szczerbiak were sidelined with injuries and Green was in the starting lineup, he was often the focal point of the defense's attention, and shots that were once easy to get just weren't coming his way, or he wasn't open by the time he got the ball.

Green sometimes hesitates to take the ball to the basket when he has an opening, he's been pretty comfortable shooting the outside shot. And given his innate ability to elevate on his jumper, his shot is all but unblockable when he catches it clean and rises up. Add to that a natural shooter's stroke and a dash of confidence, and you suddenly have a very effective NBA shooter.

In the meantime, The Gerald Green Show debuts on Saturday night. Reporters continue to hector him for insight on what exactly he has up his sleeve, but Green isn't budging.

Said Green, "Wait until Saturday, man."

Peter Stringer will be providing behind-the-scenes coverage all weekend from Las Vegas in the All-Star Blog.

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