Winter Warmth: Green Heats up in February
BOSTON – Not even snow, ice or frigid winter temperatures can cool down Celtics forward Jeff Green. He’s currently on fire after heating up in the month of February for the second consecutive season.
There’s something about February that gets the juices flowing for Green. Celtics fans yearn for consistency out of the freakishly-athletic forward, and this is when he begins to provide it.
Green has had his best stretch of the season over his last 11 games, which essentially accounts for the past month of the season. He has scored at least 17 points in 10 of those contests with an overall average of 22.0 points a night. Green has also finished as the game’s top scorer in six of those games.
Simply put, we haven’t seen that type of consistency from Green prior to February. He hadn’t averaged more than 16.2 points per game in any of the first three months of the season. That stretch included only one instance of back-to-back 20-point games.
February has not only featured more consistency from Green, but also more of those big games. He had five 20-point games during the month and rattled off three straight from Feb. 21-24. Including the first game of March, Green has now scored more than 20 points in four of his last five games with an average of 23.0 PPG.
Talk about a spike in production. Green has taken his game to an entirely different level since dropping 36 points on the 76ers back on Feb. 5.
This heightened level of play in the middle of winter isn’t a new story for Green. We saw Chapter 1 unfold a year ago.
Everyone remembers Green’s epic 43-point performance against the Miami Heat on March 18 of last season. Many, including Green, pinpoint that as the date that set off his fantastic conclusion to the season. Green did play like an All-Star following that performance, but a look back to early February will discover the initial turn of his season.
Green began to heat up on Feb. 7 of last year when he scored 19 points against the Los Angeles Lakers. He went on to score at least 17 points in five of his next seven games, including a 31-point outburst against the Suns on Feb. 22.
As the remainder of the season unfolded, Boston had an additional star alongside Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Green went on to average 17.1 PPG from Feb. 7 through the end of the regular season and then scored 20.3 PPG in the playoffs. This was after he averaged just 10.0 PPG over his first 48 games of 2012-13.
The explanation for Green’s turnaround last season was that he had surpassed the one-year anniversary of his open-heart surgery. He had finally reached full health and returned to his former ways on the court.
Now, a year later, we’re finding out that there may be more to the story. Maybe he’s like a baseball pitcher who just gets better and better as the season wears on.
The proof is in the pudding. We now have two instances in which his scoring after Feb. 5 has increased by at least 6.5 PPG.
So while the weather may not be heating up just yet, Green certainly is. He’s playing his most consistent ball of the season as we head into the final six full weeks of the 2013-14 campaign.