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Celtics Expect Green-Turner Combo To Flourish

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

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WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics finally have their leading scorer back in the lineup.

Speaking of lineups, Boston also now has a dangerous playmaking combination to call on.

Jeff Green, who averaged a team-leading 16.9 points per game a season ago, returned to the practice court on Monday after missing nine straight days with a strained left calf. He’s likely to regain his starting small forward position, but that doesn’t mean Evan Turner will fall out of the loop.

Turner filled in very nicely at small forward while Green was out of the lineup. Some would even consider Turner, who averaged 11.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 4.3 APG over Boston’s first four preseason contests, as the team’s best player thus far.

As of last Friday, Stevens told reporters that he hadn’t figured out how Green and Turner would coexist once Green made his return. It appears that the coach has since figured that riddle out.

“Jeff’s going to play most of his minutes or maybe just over half of his minutes at the 3, but he’ll also play some 4,” Stevens said, noting that he has given a lot of thought to the topic. “I think Evan has to play. Whether that’s starting or coming off the bench or whatever. Evan can get into the paint and that’s a huge, critical thing for our team.”

The Celtics will now have a dynamic playmaking combination when Green and Turner team up at power forward and small forward, respectively. While their skill sets differ greatly, each player can make plays both for himself and for his teammates. That’s why Green believes they can excel as a duo.

“I think we can work together very well,” he said on Monday. “We both can handle the ball. We both can create mismatches on both ends. So I think it’s to our favor.”

Green explained that when the two are on the floor together, it will not be your typical small forward-power forward combination. Green will not attempt to operate as a true big man.

“It doesn’t mean that I’m going to be on the block a lot,” Green stated. “I’m still going to play my game no matter what position I’m at.”

He elaborated on that comment shortly thereafter, saying, “I just go out there and try to find spots where I can score the ball at and just go from there… I’m still going to be on the perimeter because that’s my game.”

In other words, opponents are going to have to defend two slashing forwards, plus two guards, when Green and Turner share the court. That’s a lot for an opponent to account for.

“It just gives us another threat,” said Jared Sullinger. “We have a lot of threats as it is, with E.T. (Evan Turner), Marcus (Smart), Avery (Bradley). You add Jeff, and a couple of weeks from now you add (Rajon) Rondo, and you never know.”

Sullinger also spoke about the versatility that Green and Turner will create for Boston.

“Evan can play 1, 2 or 3. Evan doesn’t really have a position,” he said. “Jeff is a 3, but you could play him at the 4, or could play him at the 2 sometimes. You never know. It’s another combination that Coach Stevens has to work with.”

Finally.

Stevens couldn’t call on this combination for the past nine days. Now he can, and from the sound of it, the Celtics are expecting big results.