Green’s Roaring Effort Helps C’s Outlast Grizzlies

addByline("Taylor C. Snow", "Celtics.com", "taylorcsnow");

BOSTON – Gerald Green’s presence on the basketball court over the last month and a half can best be described as “inconspicuous,” at least from a playing perspective.

From the bench, the veteran guard has had a great vocal impact on the Boston Celtics' youth throughout the season. In between the lines, however, he has not shown face often, having registered 15 DNPs during Boston’s last 21 games.

That changed Tuesday night when Green’s Celtics hosted the Memphis Grizzlies at TD Garden.

With Boston in need of an offensive boost, Green came out of the woodwork and provided 19 points off the bench to power Boston to a 113-103 win over the Grizzlies. And rather than make his typical, quiet exit from the court, the guard strode off the parquet floor to a roaring and praiseful crowd.

Green, not once, but twice, gave Boston an offensive spark Tuesday night.

The first boost came during the second quarter when he erupted for 10 points over a three-minute and nine-second span, which allowed Boston to extend its four-point lead over Memphis to an 11-point advantage.

The Grizzlies clawed back and made it a one-possession game during the fourth quarter, but Green stepped in again to keep Boston in front, as he delivered nine points during the final frame.

When Green walked off the court with 3:44 left in the game and the Celtics up by five, Celtics Nation collectively rose to its feet and provided him with an experience that he had never had during his 10-plus seasons in the NBA: a standing ovation.

“I never had a standing ovation before, I don’t think,” Green stated with a smile as he addressed the media after the win. “So for me to have one at this day and age of my career, man, that was something special for me.”

Standing ovations are not handed out on a nightly basis by the die-hard Celtics fans at TD Garden, but this one was fully deserved given Green’s unique situation with the team.

The veteran guard, who began his career with Boston more than a decade ago, was added to the C’s roster this past summer with the hope that his high-volume scoring ability would give Boston a boost when need be.

Things took a curve during training camp, however, when Green suffered a hip flexor injury that caused him to miss extensive time.

The preseason is a critical period for newcomers, as it gives them a chance to learn and play within their new system. If one misses extensive time, like Green did, it leaves very little time during the regular season to catch up, according to C’s coach Brad Stevens.

“He had some injury issues,” Stevens said Tuesday night, “and when you’re trying to play a fast-paced game while learning a new system on the fly, basically without any practice time – that’s hard.”

Because of his preseason absence, it took a while for Green to adjust to Stevens’ system. But the coach says Green has been making great strides lately.

“I think he’s more comfortable in how we’re trying to play on both ends of the court,” said Stevens. “He brought great energy (tonight), and we needed every one of his 19 points.”

Tuesday marked the second straight game that Green has provided a boost, after he notched eight points during 12 minutes off the bench during Boston’s Christmas Day win against the New York Knicks.

Isaiah Thomas is very familiar with Green’s high-scoring spurts having played alongside him in Phoenix a couple of seasons ago.

“He’s one of the best scorers that I’ve seen in the NBA,” said Thomas. “Whether it be at practice or in games, all it takes is one shot for him to feel like he’s on fire.”

“He can help us, really,” added Thomas. “And coach is pointing in his direction, and he’s taken advantage of his opportunities the last few games that he’s played. But what he did today, that’s what he does; he comes off the bench, gives a spark and gives us energy.”

Boston has needed a consistent force of energy off the bench this season after the offseason departure of jack-of-all-trades, Evan Turner. Green is hoping to be the guy who can step in and fill that role when Boston’s first unit is experiencing an offensive lull.

“We have a lot of guys on the team that can score the ball,” said Green, who also logged five rebounds (three offensive), one assist and one block. “But some nights we’re a little flat at times. So I think that the bench has to be the energy group for us, and that’s something that I feel I should bring each time I step on the floor – energy.”

Green was certainly not short of energy Tuesday night, as his offensive spark was bright enough to rub off on his teammates and the TD Garden crowd. His presence on the court has been anything but inconspicuous over Boston’s last two games, and he’s beginning to showcase the outstanding value that he can provide this team.